14 April 2003

Uganda: Museveni abandoned Luwero, says Ssemo

Kampala — President Yoweri Museveni has forgotten why he went to the bush to wage a guerrilla war, the Democratic Party president Paul Ssemogerere has said.

"Thousands of people were killed here in Luwero in the struggle for freedom and democracy," Mr Ssemogerere told people in Luwero district at the weekend. "[But] we are now experiencing Movement repression like we did in Obote II regime."

The Bush War raged from 1981 to '86, and Mr Milton Obote was president much of that time, his second go at the job. His first was between 1962-'71. Mr Ssemogerere was speaking at the graduation party of Mr Charles Lubega Ssewava, an activist of the Uganda Young Democrats, the DP youth wing, at Kyegombwa in Luwero sub-county.

Mr Ssewava graduated from Makerere University on 28 March with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education. Mr Ssemogerere said that during the Bush War Mr Museveni used to preach free and fair elections, freedom of speech and association but that the president is now doing the opposite.

"You cannot address a political rally in your country. He will use the police to break it. Is this the freedom, which led him to shed blood? We must rise up against this dictatorship like we did against colonialists," Mr Ssemogerere said.

He urged the people of Luwero to resist the calls to give Mr Museveni a third term. He said Luwero sacrificed a lot in the five-year war that brought Mr Museveni to power but that they had gained nothing in the last 17 years of the Movement government.

"How many army generals do you have? What about resident district commissioners, chief administrative officers and other posts? Go and compare with the area he [Museveni] comes from," Mr Ssemogerere said.

The party was attended by several DP activists, including former Makerere University guild president Mukasa Mbidde, and Buganda prince Dickson Wasajja.

Prince Wasajja lambasted former president Godfrey Binaisa, who has urged Mengo to forget that Kampala city can be part of Buganda Kingdom under a federal system.

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