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Colonel Besigye Warns Of War

By Vision Reporter

Added 11th December 2002 03:00 AM

EXILED former presidential candidate Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye has said conditions in Uganda are ripe for more armed conflicts (wars).

EXILED former presidential candidate Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye has said conditions in Uganda are ripe for more armed conflicts (wars).

By Hamis Kaheru
EXILED former presidential candidate Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye has said conditions in Uganda are ripe for more armed conflicts (wars).

In a paper posted on the Internet and partly published by The Monitor yesterday, Besigye outlined eight points which he said are the causes of wars within and between societies and countries.

“All the eight conditions exist in Uganda. They are present in such a magnitude that does not only explain the presence of war in the country, but also suggests a strong likelihood of more wars,” said Besigye, who is also the head of the Reform Agenda, the political group that spearheaded his campaign.

He said quest for freedom and human dignity, justice, popular sovereignty including patriotism, nationalism and secessionism, militarism (relying on the military to solve problems), power-driven charisma of a leader, imperialism, economic pressure and unemployment were the causes of war.

Besigye said war may also erupt through the actions of “war-mongers” when conditions for it do not exist, but added that such a war is short-lived as it cannot be sustained.

“As long as the conditions exist in a manner and magnitude exceeding the threshold for the parties involved, war will result,” he said.

He was, however, not clear whether he was declaring or planning to declare war.

“Certainly, I would never initiate or join a war situation unless it cannot be avoided. I can only participate in war which has been imposed on me,” he wrote.

Reform Agenda spokesperson Beti Kamya said she would comment on the article later.
Reform Agenda deputy chairman and first vice-chairperson Sam Njuba and Reagan Okumu, respectively declined to comment saying they had not read the article.

Army spokesman Major Shaban Bantariza said he was not allowed to comment on political issues.

“That is a political debate. I am not mandated to comment on what causes war because war is politics by other means. Until politics reaches that level (of war), you should ask those people who are dealing with politics,” he said.

The director of information at the Movement Secretariat, Ofwono Opondo, said Besigye’s article confirmed the Government’s fears that Besigye intends to wage war on the government.

“We have told the public that from intelligence sources Besigye has been mobilising for war. The article and his appearance on radio talk-shows is to prepare Ugandans so that those who cannot join him, should be prepared when he attacks the country,” he said.

Opondo cited an article in the same issue of The Monitor which he said gave a timetable for Besigye’s attack as March next year.

“We know Besigye is sharing information with some people in the media. His armed wing has given him a deadline when to join them or they attack without him,” he said.

Besigye said he was talking from personal experience, having lived through the recent wars in Uganda, first as a civilian onlooker (1978/9), then as combatant freedom fighter (1982-86) and as an officer in the national army.

He said the consequences of war on society are so grave that everything must be done to avoid it.

He added, “Whereas the consequences of war are so grave indeed, it should also be clear that they only amount to a cost. If the need justifies the cost, therefore, the cost, however high, must be paid.”

He said the serious and most constant consequences of war are loss of lives and maiming, disruption and destruction of the social infrastructure, increase in incidence and prevalence of disease and malnutrition, child neglect and trauma, and increased brutality and violence in society.

Others are latent animosity on the part of the defeated, large section of society without employable skills (lost generation) and poverty, concentration of power in the hands of a few powerful and violent individuals, and more wars.

Colonel Besigye Warns Of War

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