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Observer report concocted Museveni comments to incite tribal divisions
June 15th, 2010
Please refer to The Observer Report of Monday June 14th, 2010 under the headline “Museveni to Mengo: I’ll cut off your head,” by Edward Ssekika and the subsequent use of the photograph of the President and the Kabaka of Buganda.
The report claimed that the President accused the Kabaka of Buganda of attempting to divide Ugandans along ethnic lines and that he said that if the Kingdom crosses its boundaries and interferes with his roles, he will chop off his head with no case to answer.
There was nowhere in the President’s address to the people of Bunyoro did he mention Mengo, or the Kabaka of Buganda or anything to do with the Kingdom of Buganda. The complete recording of the President’s address is available to the public, for those who are interested in the truth.
The paper obviously wanted to ride on tensions between the Central government and Buganda so as to turn a colourful and respectable ceremony of the Banyoro into a platform for inciting tribal divisions. The paper also chose to totally ignore the focus of the celebrations in Hoima, where hundreds of thousands of people had gathered to mark the 16th anniversary (Empango) coronation of Omukama Solomon Gafabusa Iguru to dwell on issues to do with Buganda, something that is totally insulting to the people of Bunyoro. Of all the media institutions that were represented in Bunyoro on this day, it is only The Observer that had a completely different version of reports.
It has been a deliberate policy and practice for The Observer newspaper to always malign the person of the President using concocted reports. While the paper has a right to support whatever political or cultural interests it feels like, it is fair journalism practice to declare its interests to the public and to give the President a fair hearing by being impartial in its reports about him and the institution of State House if it chooses to make such reports.
The President has been a strong advocate of cultural institutions and worked tirelessly for their return. His argument then and now has been that if the traditional leaders focused on their roles and responsibilities without interfering into politics, they can easily co-exist and offer alternative leadership roles to develop the country. The President has always said cultural institutions can work well with modern governments if handled well and if each played their roles according to the constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
In Hoima, the President likened this role to several people each having his lubimbi (garden) to cultivate alongside each other – Cultural leaders, religious leaders, politicians etc. He said if suddenly one of these abandoned his lubimbi and crossed into another’s, they can easily have their heads cut off and become casualities with no case to answer. He also likened this to religious leaders who have a specific role in the society, saying there are many people who are religious but not all of them are allowed to perform baptism roles. He emphasized the importance of unity and urged the traditional leaders to support government’s Prosperity for All programme to help their people fight poverty from their homes.
Whatever the intensions and purposes of The Observer report, it is unacceptable for them to whip up tribal divisions at a time when our country needs unity and prosperity.