INTERVIEW: We Want Global Arms Embargo On M7


help treat "sans-serif"; font-size: small; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-ansi-language: EN;”>Under their umbrella UCAN, adiposity the activists told SA Parliament in Pretoria the arms sold to Kampala were being viewed by majority of population as weapons of repression. editor Giles Muhame (CR) has since caught up with Stephen Twinoburyo (SR), the man behind the earth-shattering petition that has caused discomfort in Uganda. Excerpts:

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CR: Why do you want SA to slap arms embargo on Uganda?

ST: It is not only South Africa that we have asked to impose an arms embargo on Uganda but rather the entire international community through bodies like the UN, EU and AU. From recent and on-going happenings in the country, it is evident that the arms imported by the Uganda regime are not aimed at protecting Ugandans but rather to torture and torment them.

CR: Do you think it would be madness for someone to describe you as an opposition member after you have petitioned SA to block arms sale to Uganda?

ST: I don’t know what one would mean by “an opposition member”. I am just a concerned Ugandan, I don’t belong to any opposition party and I don’t need to belong to one to raise my concerns about the government of Uganda.

CR: Where do you derive the conviction that arms from SA are the ones used to repress Ugandans?

ST: It is not only arms from S Africa but the arms that come into possession of the Museveni regime and that is why like I mentioned above, we are appealing to the entire international community to slap an arms embargo on the Museveni regime.

CR: If you were in police boss Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura’s shoes, would you allow violent rioters to walk free on streets of Kampala, destroying people’s property?

ST: We have seen demonstrations in Europe and at some international trade summits that have been more violent than those in Uganda but we have not seen people being shot dead in order to contain them. In any case, if one looks at the “walk-to-work” protests, the rioters were the security forces.

CR: Do you think Col. Kizza Besigye has the mantle to rule Uganda? Why?

ST: Few ever thought Museveni could rule Uganda and in fact the 1980 elections demonstrate that. So yes, Kizza Besigye, has the mantle to rule Uganda – and so do many other Ugandans.

CR: What gives you confidence that SA would cease selling arms to Uganda given the special relationship Jacob Zuma and Museveni have?

ST: South Africa is governed by structures and has strong democratic principles with a very high regard for human rights. A relationship with Museveni, which may only be a working relationship, does not obstruct Zuma or the South African government from doing what is right. Besides, they had not been approached on this matter and this is information that they may have been unaware of.

CR: And if blocked, wouldn’t government secure arms from other countries?

ST: We are not only appealing to South Africa.

CR: Why is it that you want an arms embargo on Uganda at a time when opposition leaders in diaspora are calling for ousting of Museveni using guns? Haven’t opposition members been meeting at Johannesburg Hotel on how to replace Museveni’s government?

ST: I don’t know which types of meetings you are referring to but recently, a highly-publicised Ugandan meeting – “ekimeeza”- took place at a Johannesburg Hotel and I don’t know if this constitutes the types of meetings you are talking about.

CR: Do you really believe in violent change of regime?

ST: No

CR: Can you specify which arms were imported from SA to suppress civil liberties in Uganda.

ST: If you refer to the document you’ve been mentioning in your questions, you will find some of these arms specified.

CR: Don’t you think over-reliance on media reports to gauge performance of government is biasing judgment of Ugandans in diaspora?

ST: We don’t rely on media reports and in fact hardly depend on convention media. We now live in a communication age and getting to know what happens around the world does not necessarily require facilitation by media. The views we hold are shared by many that live in Uganda and it is because of their sufferings that we are taking such steps.

CR: There have been reports of ADF re-organising in Eastern Congo to destablise oil drilling in western Uganda. Don’t you think we need more arms to safeguard a resource that could kick poverty from the country?

ST: Uganda has enough arms already to defend the oil. Besides, in the recent past that we’ve seen Ugandan arms being used, how often have they been used against the country’s enemies?

CR: How has your mobilization campaigns in the diaspora helped the common man in Uganda?

ST: We believe it is a combined effort. Our efforts add to those in Uganda that are working through various means – parliament, walk-to-work, civil disobedience e.t.c – to ensure there is change that makes Uganda better.

CR: What is your assessment of political trends in the country? Is Uganda heading for development?

ST: Under the Museveni regime, Uganda is on a continual downward slide. Museveni ceasing to be a leader of Uganda is a major component in the country’s recovery.

CR: When did you start activism?

ST: I have been an activist right from my school days, not just against Museveni but against injustice and human rights abuses in general.

CR: And why would you want Museveni, who was declared by Electoral Commission as legitimate winner of 2011 elections, instantly out of power?

ST: The conduct of the previous elections was very questionable and this is best demonstrated by the state of the country since Museveni was declared ‘winner’. Seeing that since that “re-election”, no development programme/plan has been rolled out or direction offered by the government, it is clear that each extra day Museveni spends at the helm, Uganda is the loser.


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