Uganda Foreign Affairs and International Relations minister, Henry Okello Oryem, has said that of all things that can ever happen in Uganda, a military coup is not among them.
Oryem was talking to Daily Monitor following the reported overthrow of Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza, by his former Chief of Intelligence services, Maj Gen Godefroid Niyombare.
Oryem said the Burundi crisis would have been resolved democratically through dialogue and that it was very unfortunate that the Burundi crisis culminated in a coup.
“The East African Community leaders had high hopes that the situation would be resolved politically through dialogue. African Union does not condone any military coup and Uganda as a country, we advocate for a civilian government,” Oryem told the newspaper.
Asked whether Uganda had something to learn from Burundi, Oryem said, “Uganda is very civil and its army can never do such a thing.”
He added: “We can never get a coup here in Uganda and any attempts in that direction would never be accepted by the civilians.”
Apolo Milton Obote, first Prime Minister and President of Uganda in 1966 an armed attack upon Mutesa’s palace, which ended with Mutesa fleeing to exile.
Obote was overthrown by army commander Idi Amin in 1971.
Idi Amin was also overthrown in 1979 ushering in Obote 11.
On 27 July 1985 Obote was deposed again his own army commanders in a military coup d’état; this time the commanders were Brigadier Bazilio Olara-Okello and General Tito Okello.
In January 1986, Salim Saleh commanded NRA’s assault on Kampala, which eventually led to the demise of Tito Okello’s regime – with Museveni becoming president.
Yet Oryem who has first hand information of this history still says: “Ugandans can never accept to return to such a situation.”
Oryem is the son of General Tito Lutwa Okello (1914–1996), who served as President of Uganda between July 1985 and January 1986 when he was deposed by Museveni’s fighters.
EU too condemns Burundi coup
The European Union High Representative/ Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, on the situation in Burundi says after the developments in Burundi today, “our first thoughts are with the citizens of the country – their security and safety is paramount and it is essential the situation does not spin out of control.”
“We expect all actors in Burundi to show restraint, avoid violence and take all steps in their power to ensure that the human rights of all Burundians are guaranteed. It is more important than ever that all political forces respect the principles of the Arusha Agreements.”
He said the above principles have been the basis not only of a lasting peace and unity in Burundi, but also of the considerable progress made by the country in recent years.
“In particular the holding of inclusive, credible and transparent elections, in a political environment free of intimidation or violence, is an essential element of those Agreements.
He said the conditions for such elections should be re-established as soon as possible to allow the people to choose a legitimate and constitutional government.
“The European Union fully supports the mediation efforts being undertaken by the East African Community, the African Union and the United Nations. We urge all parties to cooperate in finding a peaceful solution.”