Voice of America (Washington, DC)

20 November 2013

Ugandan President Accused of Subverting East African Community

Photo: Al Jazeera English
An M23 soldier.

The newly-formed Freedom and Unity Front (FUF) of Uganda says President Yoweri Museveni is out to destroy the East African Community, which comprises Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

In its latest "Situation Analysis Report," the group said Museveni's scheme is manifested in his attempt to isolate Tanzania and Burundi by not inviting their leaders to recent regional summits.

Museveni, chairperson of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region, has been mediating peace talks in Kampala between the Congolese government M23 rebels.

General David Sejusa, one of the leaders of the FUF, said Museveni has also been a sponsor of the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as part of his efforts to further destabilize the region.

"He started that rebellion. He gave them arms, he gave them financial support, he gave them equipment, and he gave them uniforms. So, it's not like I'm talking out of the blue. But, then, the chameleon he is, he turns around and then he postures as if he's the one who wants to bring peace," he said.

Museveni, chairperson of the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region, has been mediating peace talks in Kampala between the Congolese government M23 rebels.

The M23 earlier this month announced it was ending its rebellion, but a peace deal that was supposed to have been signed November 10th was delayed after the Congolese government said it wanted the document to be called a 'declaration' and not a 'peace agreement.'

Sejusa said Museveni is not a genuine peace broker since he helped start the Congo war.

"This is always his power game. You create the problem, then twist it in a different way for two reasons: one, manage the international community to remain relevant, but also manage the political process, which may come out of that instability," Sejusa said.

The FUF said in its latest "Situation Analysis Report" that Museveni was trying to undermine the East African Community.

"You must have heard his machinations of breaking the East African Community treaty and to subvert the process by trying to eliminate Tanzania and Burundi. You have heard about the bad mouthing President [Jakaya] Kikwete when Tanzania has been a credible and longtime and trusted ally of the East African Community," he said.

Sejusa says what Museveni's actions are reminiscent of the reign of the late Ugandan dictator Idi Ami, which led to the collapse of the East African Community.

"So, this is a biggest betrayal of Mr. Museveni against the African people because he is betraying the greatest post-independence dream of empowerment and the emancipation of our people, which is centered into a broader political entity to enhance trade, enhance cooperation and development, but also to minimize wars in these areas so that we can concentrate on investment instead of buying arms," Sejusa said.

Tanzanian President Kikwete was not invited to an ECA meeting held last August in Mombasa and attended by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Museveni (Uganda) and Paul Kagame (Rwanda). The meeting was called to discuss cross-border infrastructure projects.

ECA officials reportedly said Tanzania and Burundi were not been invited because the projects under discussion, including an oil pipeline and a standard gauge railway, involved only the three countries present.

The FUF describes itself as a "new liberation platform to unite different liberation forces, political organizations and individuals to free Uganda from Yoweri Museveni."

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