The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: So, Who Is the Idiot?

editorial

As he is often wont to do when his government comes under tremendous political pressure, President Museveni this week fired off a tirade against his critics over the poor handling of the death of Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda.

His Excellency the president of the Republic of Uganda described as idiots and fools, people who dared to suggest that the government could have had a hand in the death of the outspoken MP. A clearly, if typically, angry Museveni went on to declare that the embittered MPs, and the Speaker of Parliament, would have to face the police to answer for their statements, before promising to close media houses that give voice to such presumably inappropriate views.

Like any Ugandan, the president has a right to be upset when things do not go his way in the serious undertaking that is national politics. But Mr Museveni should avoid conduct and speech that makes patriotic Ugandans feel ashamed. This name-calling and belittling people's elected representatives does not help Uganda's nascent political culture to grow.

Mr Museveni has certainly been on the political scene long enough to know that in a demoracy, the questions asked are as important as - if not more important - than the answers preferred. One would, therefore, ask Mr Museveni who real idiots are: Is it those who fumbled and offered uncoordinated answers as if they were trying to hide something? Or is it those who tried to ask legitimate questions?

It is understandable that Mr Museveni feels angry that anyone should suggest that the government could kill a political opponent. But the president should remember the many Ugandans who have been killed by some agents of the various governments of Uganda, including the one he leads.

Therefore, our right and duty, as Ugandans, is to ask the government questions, especially when it behaves in a way that is deemed suspicious. Parliament and the media, more than any other institution, are called to perform that duty for the benefit of the people of Uganda.

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