UPDF Chief of Defence Forces [CDF], Gen Katumba Wamala, says opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, is recruiting “expendables” to burn down Kampala city.
“Expendables” echo the “The Expendables”, an American series of ensemble action films written by and starring Sylvester Stallone aka Rambo and originally created by David Callaham.
According to the plot of the film; mercenary leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his loyal men take on what they think is a routine assignment: a covert operation to invade the South American country of Vilena and overthrow its dictator.
But, when they learn that the job will be a suicide mission, they must choose redemption or the destruction of their brotherhood.
Speaking on UBC Star TV last Saturday, Katumba said Besigye [like in the expendables] was trying to launch a series of riots and make the country hard for President Yoweri Museveni to govern.
“We [army] learnt about their plot in advance. Besigye has been recruiting expendables from the slums like Kisenyi and other places to loot people’s shops,” Katumba said on TV.
He said the army thus deployed across the city and suburbs to prevent politically engineered arson and robbery.
“Ugandans think soldiers should not be in elections. I even clashed with a woman recently [at Mbuya polling station]. There is that wrong mentality. We also have rights to vote,” Katumba said in reference to army presence during the electoral process.
Katumba said the army knew this situation would happen and deployed to help force [whose force is not enough].
He said they [army] never arrested, intimidated, scared or harassed anyone during the election period.
“We are keeping the peace. How can our army protect the people in Somalia and then Ugandans at home don’t have peace and security?” queried Katumba.
He noted that Uganda Electoral Commission [UCC] was prompted to block social media because some people wanted to use it to disturb the peace.
Katumba said for example, social media was awash with reports of his arrest to create panic amidst the public.
“It was started by people like Okwalinga [Tom Voltaire- a social media critic]. I don’t know where he lives [he laughs]. They wanted to create fear.”
“There is no plan to arrest me. We knew all this would happen. We know many other things they wanted to do but we prevented them.”
Katumba said politics was growing in the country although they are still problems.
He said for example when people lose elections, they should accept defeat.
“Laws don’t allow anyone to incite violence,” he said, adding that opposition was buying local brew [waragi] and marijuana to intoxicate and incite the youth.
“They call them expendables [intoxicated youth]. Its drugs that make them do the things they do. Opposition should not create a situation they can’t handle.”
“Those are not your leaders. They don’t use their children. You won’t see them using their children to lead criminal gangs.”
He called on the youth not to be put in trouble by “self-seeking” politicians.
“Don’t accept to be sent on streets, they are lying to youth and promising you free houses. Houses in Kampala are for Ugandans not foreigners. There are no free buildings to give you. They tell you to go to Garden City and pick a shop you like, that’s not true,” Katumba concluded.
Museveni, police speak
Addressing press in Kampala recently, Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, said foreigners were funding Besigye to destabilise Uganda.
He claimed foreign countries were financing opposition militia to build influence and spread chaos across the country.
He, however, never provided evidence to back his claim.
Regional Police Commander Kampala Metropolitan, East Siraj Bakaleke, also told press Besigye was arrested outside his home because they had information he was planning to mastermind chaos in Kampala city.
Bakaleke said the preventive arrest was to safeguard the life and property of Kampala residents from a group Besigye had mobilized from around the country to stage demonstrations in the city and cause disorder.
Addressing press in Rwakitura following his declaration as winner of 2016 elections, President Yoweri Museveni said he would not allow Besigye to burn down Kampala.
Museveni promised to use both soft and hard means to protect the city and the country at large.
He vowed to wipe out opposition completely in his next five years of office.