26 May 2011

Uganda: UK Minister Tells Museveni to Wear a Statesman's Cloak

President Museveni should act like a statesman and stop using excessive force in dealing with the opposition in the ongoing campaign over rising commodity and fuel prices, a UK top official has said.

The United Kingdom Minister for Africa, Mr Henry Bellingham, made the comments in an interview with the BBC's Network Africa programme on Monday. "President Museveni won with a big majority, he should now be magnanimous, he should be statesman-like, and he should rise above trying to make any moves against the opposition," he said in his interview.

Mr Bellingham asked President Museveni to rise above "petty party politics" having won the Feberuary 18 presidential polls. He said the very tough tactics used by President Museveni against Dr Kizza Besigye, the leader of Forum for Democratic Change party, were a concern for the UK government, one of Uganda's biggest aid donors.

Despite the criticism, he praised President Museveni, saying he should carry on the excellent work which he is doing in many ways in terms of the prosperity agenda and counter-terrorism.

He further added: "On all these fronts Museveni has been doing a good job, but I think it demeans him and his government to use excessive force against the opposition."

Mr Bellingham's statement on Mr Museveni was prompted by the ongoing government reaction on the opposition's call to ride-drive and-honk or whistle five times everyday in the evening. The police have warned people planning to hoot in protest that they will be arrested.

The Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the President, Mr Kintu Nyago, yesterday dismissed Mr Bellingham talk as idle since Mr Museveni does not need lectures on governance.

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