Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has said the practice of civilians attacking men in uniform as witnessed in riots that rocked the country last week, will never happen again.
Museveni’s remarks were part of his address to the nation on Sunday following a spate of political violence in Uganda in which at least 52 people were shot dead as police and the army moved to quell riots that were quickly spreading across cities and major towns.
Riots broke out last week following the arrest of National Unity Platform presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi who was later charged with involving in actions that were likely to lead to the spread of the deadly croronavirus disease.
In the address which was aired live on various media, Museveni said the perpetrators have now tasted the consequences of attacking security agents and he is sure the practice will not happen again.
“The attack on people wearing NRM/ yellow shirts; the attack on officers in uniform should never happen again. Whoever has ears should listen. You are not doing anyone a favor to keep the law” Museveni said.
Museveni attributed the practice to a corrupt police force that has allowed civilians to develop temptations to promote lawlessness without fear of consequences which he said will no longer be the case.
“In spite of the weakness of the police that allows impunity of lawlessness to persist, the overall security posture of Uganda is robust and that is where people (like these rioters) make miscalculations; You will be defeated” Museveni said.
The president said if Kyagulanyi (Robert) was arrested, his supporters should have waited for him to go to court like he eventually did. He said the feeling that Kyagulanyi is untouchable because he is a politician and prompts people to riot must never be repeated.
Museveni also made an account of the 54 victims 32 of whom he said were rioters shot while attempting to attack armed security officers, 2 hit by a seeding vehicle after the driver was stoned by rioters, and the rest taken out by stray bullets.
He gave examples of those who attempted to attack men in uniform including 5 were shot dead in Nansana while trying to disarm police officers, one in Katwe who attacked officers with stones and 3 others who attacked army men near Kisekka Market in downtown Kampala.
He said his government will compensate the victims who were hit by stray bullets but not those who were shot while attacking security agents.
Museveni reiterated the claim that the riots were instigated by politicians with intentions to cause uprisings and backed by foreign conspirators. He however noted that their plan will not be successful because Uganda has developed capacity to handle any form of internal or external aggression.
On the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to sectors of the economy, president Museveni noted that government has a bail-out plan to have a few sectors hard-hit, supported.
“As we look forward to emerging from this COVID-19 nightmare, we shall organize bailouts for businesses that have been affected by the pandemic; these include among others; private schools, the entertainment industry, the hospitality industry, street vendors, etc” He said.