The President of the republic of Uganda H.E Yoweri Museveni addressed the nation on Tuesday at State House in Entebbe as the country marked the 35th Liberation Day, Museveni congratulated Ugandans for holding peaceful elections.
The President, however, had a terse warning to those contemplating mischief.
“I appeal to those thinking of violence to stop because it will not work. You are wasting your time. Don’t entertain any ideas about violence and intimidation,” he said.
Museveni was declared the winner of the January 14 presidential election with 58% of the vote, with Robert Kyagulanyi of the NUP party coming second with 34% of the vote.
Following a call by the day’s preacher, Msgr Charles Kasibante, Museveni said he had no problem talking to and working with his political opponents.
“Idi Amin’s son is a director of intelligence, Tito Okello’s son is my minister. Obote’s daughter-in-law is also a minister in our government. We don’t have any problem but we won’t tolerate violence,” said the President.
Victory was ideological
Speaking about the victory of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) in 1986, Museveni said it was not only a military (NRA) one but a success of ideas they represented, and the victory came after a long period of struggle.
“It all started in 1965 when we formed a student movement separate from the three old parties — DP, UPC, and KY — which were built on the foundation of sectarianism,” said Museveni. “DP was for Catholics, UPC for Protestants, and KY for Baganda.”
Museveni said they sensed the danger these three political parties posed with their ideology of focusing on identity.
The first problem, Museveni said, was that no political party would form a government because they couldn’t mobilise a national majority.
“We said no to this approach. Why would you look at people’s identity when they have similar problems and interests? Initially, people were laughing at us that we didn’t know what we were talking about, that we were not realistic,” said the President.
Many countries in Africa, Museveni said, have been affected by the problem of ideological bankruptcy based on identity, citing Sudan, Somalia, Central Africa Republic, among others.
“NRM from the beginning has been talking about the four principles of patriotism, pan-Africanism, social-economic transformation, and democracy,” said Museveni.
“Because of that, Ugandans have now woken up a little. That’s how we have a lot of milk, bananas, sugar, etc. In this term, one of the issues is to intensify the East African integration to solve the issue of markets.”
Kasibante who represented the Archbishop of Kampala prayed peace and reconciliation.
“As Ugandans, we only need to reconcile with one another, forgive all those with divergent views. I call upon all to seek peace and pursue it,” he said.
The ceremony was attended by the First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni, Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, Chief Justice Alfonse Owinyi-Dollo, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, and NRM secretary general Justine Kasule Lumumba.