KAMPALA, UGANDA: President Yoweri Museveni has said the NRM party candidate in the Kayunga LC5 by-election, Andrew Muwonge won genuinely.
In his end-of-year address at his country home in Rwakitura on Friday, Museveni said NRM operatives could not have stolen the by-election from the opposition National Unity Platform candidate Harriet Nakwede Kafeero because they [NRM] are always sleeping.
“I did not know that NRM actors had enough energy to cheat because most of the time they are asleep and allow the opposition to intimidate people, cheat, etc. Why only cheat in Kayunga? Why not in the few other areas where NUP won? Kayunga, Buganda and the whole of Uganda are politically NRM territory. Why? It is because the NRM has done more for those areas than anybody else, the internal weaknesses within NRM, notwithstanding… The opportunistic opposition will be wiped out,” Museveni said.
He added that those concerned with ballot stuffing, and other electoral malpractices are the very people who have never supported his plans for only electronic voting with thumbprints.
“It is the opposition and their collaborators that always avoid voting electronically. We should amend the law to stop all non-electronic voting. That is what Democrats should be demanding,” Museveni said.
NUP maintains that their candidate won the hotly contested by-election with more than 15,000 votes. However, the Electoral Commission declared Muwonge the winner having obtained 3,830 votes against Nakwede’s 3380 votes. The by-election saw several NUP supporters arrested following the death of Muhammad Ffeffeka Sserubogo, a NUP member who had just been sworn in as the first opposition chairman ever since the creation of Kayunga district 20 years ago.
In his speech, Museveni said the arrest of NUP leaders in Kayunga followed intelligence reports that they wanted to stop him from campaigning for Muwonge. “Our young people in the persons of Nakwede, Zaake [Francis, the MP for Mityana municipality] etc., putting it in their heads that they would not allow the old man with a hat, Ssabalwanyi, to peacefully drive from Kampala and address the NRM leaders at Kayonza Church of Uganda Primary School in Bbale and Busaana sub-county play-ground. Of course, the police could not allow that.
President Museveni also revealed that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF has so far lost two soldiers in the current war it is engaged in with the Allied Democratic Forces-ADF in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In November, the UPDF launched attacks on the camps of the ADF in Congo following the bomb attacks in Kampala that the government blamed on them.
“In all these operations, UPDF did not lose a single soldier by enemy action. The two soldiers who died, Pte. Lugingi Nicholas and Pte. Kapulyaka Mustafa died on account of self-inflicted accidental injury. One, on account of an RPG that was loaded and corked and the other one, from MGLs (Multiple Grenade Launchers) fired while in the middle of trees. They had not been thoroughly briefed,” Museveni said.
He added that now ADF fighters are fleeing to other areas and that UPDF is willing to pursue them if the Congolese government allows them. “We shall hit them even if they go up to Kisangani or Buta or beyond. Their only choice is to surrender so that the peoples of Congo and Uganda have peace and they also get rehabilitated and learn how to earn an honest living in the four sectors of commercial agriculture, small industries, services and ICT, instead of being parasites on the population,” Museveni said.