Beti: Writing From The Heart

The Supreme Court of Uganda, twice, in 2001 and 2006, ruled that the Presidential elections in Uganda were not free and fair, so the government cannot be legitimate.

[International: Uganda]

Beti Kamya, Uganda member of parliament and special envoy in the office of the main opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), was early this week arrested and charged with four counts of sedition, promoting sectarianism, inciting violence, and promoting “war on the person of the President” Yoweri K. Museveni; she denies all the charges.
The charges stemmed from an opinion article labeled “Where is Museveni’s heart?” which was published in Uganda’s Daily Monitor on January 28. Here Kamya elaborates on the on the issue with The Black Star News’s investigative reporter Norman S. Miwambo, in a telephone interview.

Why did the government charge you?
BK: I am sure government charged me because the things I wrote were not pleasing to the President of Uganda.

BSN: Do you believe the things you wrote were “seditious” as the government claims?
BK: I believe what I wrote was not seditious, but rather a wake up call. They are actually the topic among Ugandans, wherever they may be, in Uganda and abroad. Government should conduct an independent opinion poll, because it seems their intelligence does not tell the President the truth.

BSN: The government says you called upon Bahima [Museveni’s ethnic community] to restrain Museveni because some of them would suffer after others have fled. Is this a warning that there will be war?
BK: It is not a warning that there will be war, but rather a reminder of what happened in 1966, 1971, 1979, 1985. When regimes fell, senior members of the regimes fled but ordinary people who never gained from the regimes suffered at the hands of ordinary people, all because they belong to the same [ethnic group] as the fallen leader. It could happen again, if we do not stop it; and you don’t stop it by intimidating the people who talk about it but rather dealing with the problem.

BSN: What did you mean when you called upon Ugandans to emulate Kenyans who are resisting right now?
BK: I did not call on Ugandans to emulate Kenyans now; I only said like Kenya
[in the Mau Mau days] we’ll have to fight for our rights.

BSN: Do you believe the Museveni government is a legitimate government?
BK: There is only one constitutional way through which a person can become president of Uganda and form government—through a free and fair election. There is no other provision in the constitution. The Supreme Court of Uganda, twice, in 2001 and 2006, ruled that the Presidential elections in Uganda were not free and fair, so the government cannot be legitimate. It might be legal, because the Courts said so; but legitimate? Not according to Uganda’s constitution.

BSN: The government seems to believe that you want to foment a rebellion against the government. What is your comment on this?
BK: I do not want to foment a rebellion against government, I want Ugandans to be empowered through information to demand for accountability. What happened to
the proceeds out of the factories, banks, planes, buses, hotels etc., that weresold by government? Why should we have a government that failed to conduct free and fair elections in place? Why doesn’t Government conduct civic education as required bythe constitution?

BSN: You asked “Where Is Museveni’s Heart”? Does that mean asking about his nationality or should people choose their own interpretation?
BK: Where is Museveni’s heart? It was intended to mean ‘why does Museveni treat Uganda as if he does not love it, or is not patriotic, the way other people show

BSN: How would you describe the spirit in which you wrote your January 28 article in comparison to the spirit in which President Museveni responded?
BK: I intended the article to sound the wake up call. If we don’t sort out the politics of Uganda, there is only one way we are headed—the wrong way. I am half Kikuyu; I have lost loved ones in the current ethnic madness in Kenya. The dear ones I’ve lost were very poor people, who probably didn’t even know that Kibaki was President or Kikuyu for that matter, who probably never even voted, who had nothing to gain by Kibaki being President. They lived in mud and wattle huts-that’s how poor they are. But they’ve paid the price, with their lives and their properties, for policies that were made 50 years ago,favoring some Kikuyus they will never know. I am also the mother of Banyankore children, for whose future I am terrified, if the rest of the country rises against Banyankore, the Ugandan way. I am also the daughter of Colonel Kamya, a former officer in the Uganda Army until 1979. After the fall of Amin, he was branded ‘Amin’s soldier’ and for that, he lost everything. He ran to exile and died a poor man, when he had used his youth to plan for his old age all because he was branded ‘Amin’s soldier.’ I wrote that letter from my heart. Warning of a catastrophe, fearful for innocent Bahima-whereasusually, I write from my head.

Investigative reporter Miwambo writes for The Black Star from Europe. Reach him with news tips via

[email protected]

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