Elective politics have started to play out more plainly in the crisis that has in the last five days claimed more than 100 people in Kasese district.
Local leaders have now come out with counteraccusations that government through President Yoweri Museveni has refused to recognize the duly elected political leadership in Kasese.
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President Museveni in the last February elections lost to FDC’s Col Dr Kizza Besigye 41% to 56% in Kasese. The opposition party also won all four parliamentary seats in the western district.
Kasese Municipality MP Robert Franco Centenary on Wednesday accused the president of closing them out of the talks to return serenity in the troubled Rwenzori region.
He said the ruling party refused to accept that it was defeated in the elections.
“Government was not willing to accept us as leaders of Kabarole. For the first time elections were held and it took government three days to declare us winners,” Mr Centenary told NBS TV this morning.
“Even now, it is vividly shown that the president has refused to acknowledge that we are the legitimately elected leaders of the people of Kasese. He actually calls us thugs in meetings, which is disrespectful.
“Instead of handling the matter with leaders who have been elected, he calls the NRM chairperson, and the Secretary General and the NRM leadership in Kasese to come address matters that concern the people of Kasese.”
The MP added, “It is true he has a political party and he is the chairman, but he is also the president of the Republic of Uganda, where all political parties operate. By the time we address you as the president it means we are addressing you as a political leader and not a head of the political party.
In the heat of the tribal clashes in the district earlier this year, President Museveni met with the opposition dominated Kasese political leaders, warning them sternly against supporting the purported secession of the Yiira people in Kasese from Uganda to form their own republic.
But according to MP Centenary, the President didn’t look committed to end the crisis in Kasese.
“We reached out to him three times through the CDF. During the meeting at Mweya he was not willing to address the crisis, he simply lectured us about the Bahima and how they grew from grass thatched houses to corrugated iron sheet houses,” said the legislator.
“I even have a book about the story which he authored. How is this related to the conflict that is happening in Kasese?”
Meanwhile on the other hand, government is accusing the opposition of trying to take advantage of the instability in Rwenzori region to push their political agendas.
Information minister Frank Tumwebaze while appearing on the same TV show yesterday, said “Some opposition leaders are willing to take advantage of this rebellion, we have seen some already and we shall not allow them,” he added.
You can read more on the Minister’s remarks here.
President President Yoweri Museveni has for years expressed concern that the King of Rwenzururu Charles Wesley Mumbere – who has since been charged with murder and remanded in Jinja — has shown no regard for his subjects.
As far back as 1998, the president accused the King of murdering his own people, and said such a person should not be allowed in leadership.