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Obote can return, says Kategaya

By Vision Reporter

Added 29th March 2002 03:00 AM

EXILED former president Idi Amin must face trial for atrocities he committed while in power, internal affairs minister Eriya Kategaya said yesterday. Addressing the weekly press briefing in Kampala, Kategaya, who is also the First Deputy Prime Minister, r

EXILED former president Idi Amin must face trial for atrocities he committed while in power, internal affairs minister Eriya Kategaya said yesterday. Addressing the weekly press briefing in Kampala, Kategaya, who is also the First Deputy Prime Minister, r

By Okello Jabweli EXILED former president Idi Amin must face trial for atrocities he committed while in power, internal affairs minister Eriya Kategaya said yesterday. Addressing the weekly press briefing in Kampala, Kategaya, who is also the First Deputy Prime Minister, ruled out any form of reconciliation with General Amin. “Amin can come back but he has to face trial. But to say he should just come back and we leave him alone, no. For Amin, we have no reconciliation,” he said. “For Obote, we told him to come and then we shall see if he has a case to answer,” he said. He was responding to a question about the Government’s stand on the return of exiled former leaders. “Reconciliation about what? I think we should start punishing those who commit crimes. In Europe, Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Yugoslavia, is facing trial for crimes he committed. Amin committed more crimes than Milosevic,” Kategaya said. Amin lives in Saudi Arabia while Obote is holed-up in Lusaka, Zambia, where he has been since 1987 when he was toppled. Kategaya had just briefed journalists about preparations for a symposium in honour of Julius Nyerere, the late former president of Tanzania. The symposium, slated for April 8-11, will also mark Amin’s fall in 1979. Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, a member of the organising committee, said the conference will be held under the theme: “Re-enforcing the Region’s Solidarity by Setting an Agenda for Culture of Peace, Unity and People-Centred Development.” Information minister Basoga Nsadhu moderated the briefing at the Ministry of Information boardroom in Nakasero. Industry state minister Dr. Richard Nduhuura briefed the press about a recent Pakistani trade delegation to Uganda and efforts to boost trade between the two countries. Kategaya said regional heads of state, scholars and groups that participated in the liberation war have been invited to the symposium. He said, “This is not going to be an NRM celebration. We have invited all groups that fought Amin whether from within or without the country. “Our comrades from the Tanzania Peoples’ Defence Forces who helped us in the struggle will also be present,” he said. Kategaya said Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa is to officially open the conference while President Yoweri Museveni will deliver a keynote address. On the recent execution of two UPDF officers by a Field Court Martial in Karamoja, Kategaya said field executions in UPDF operational areas is not a new phenomenon. “Even in the bush, we had it. It is in the law. If there are people opposed to the death penalty, let them convince the country,” Kategaya said. He said the court martial is supposed to be quick and precise. “That is exactly what happened in this case.” In response to a question on whether it is proper to carry out executions in the full view of young children, Kategaya said, “There is no problem. The message to the kids is that a soldier should not misbehave.” He blamed the ethnic tensions in Kibaale on “politicians who are trying to divide the population for their selfish reasons.” He said the concept of tribal land must be discarded. “Any Ugandan has a right to settle anywhere in this country. Otherwise, what’s the point of Uganda being a nation? “As the population grows, we are likely to see more movements so politicians should not try to confuse the people,” he said.

Obote can return, says Kategaya

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