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Olara Otunnu should stop telling Ugandans lies

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th August 2009 03:00 AM

Otunnu must stop telling lies about President Museveni because he voluntarily renounced his Ugandan citizenship. Let the truth be told. There has been such huge media hype about Otunnu so as to make people believe that he is a political heavy weight.

Otunnu must stop telling lies about President Museveni because he voluntarily renounced his Ugandan citizenship. Let the truth be told. There has been such huge media hype about Otunnu so as to make people believe that he is a political heavy weight.

By Prof. Semakula Kiwanuka

Otunnu must stop telling lies about President Museveni because he voluntarily renounced his Ugandan citizenship. Let the truth be told. There has been such huge media hype about Otunnu so as to make people believe that he is a political heavy weight.

The truth is that he is a paper tiger being built to heroic proportions by an opposition which, having failed to defeat President Museveni, is desperate for heroes.

I want to assure the National Resistance Movement (NRM) that despite the hype, Otunnu is not a serious threat though he can cause confusion in the UPC. Should he stand against President Museveni, we shall defeat him fair and square.

Inflated paper tiger
Otunnu inflates himself to create an impression that President Museveni is politically afraid of him when in fact he is nothing more than an inflated opposition paper tiger. Writing about Otunnu, I do so with strong credentials having lived with him in New York for eight years, from 1996 to 2003, when I was the ambassador of Uganda and permanent representative to the UN.

Telling the truth often eludes him. Hence his baseless claim that he repeatedly applied for a Uganda’s passport but each time the embassy staff told him lie after lie. I challenge him to provide documentary proof. To which embassy did he make applications and when?

For the eight years I was ambassador to the UN, I had no knowledge nor evidence that Otunnu applied for a passport. Assuming that he chose to deal with my junior staff, he should still provide evidence that they tossed him around. Assuming he made his applications not to New York but to our embassy in Washington DC, we still demand evidence from him.

Otunnu holds Ivorian nationality From around 1994, Otunnu began to plot how he would contest for the post of UN Secretary General in 1996. What we should know is that a political post at the level of the UN Secretary General invariably requires the endorsement of the candidate’s government.

However, because of his pride and because of other reasons associated with his political activities, Otunnu did not seek the endorsement of the Uganda Government. Strategically, so he believed, he had to become a citizen of another African country because the post was still for Africa due to rotation.

That was how he contested as an Ivorian.
Unfortunately for him, he could not get full endorsement from the lvorian government because there was in the race a true and authentic Ivorian, Messy, who was then foreign minister. But Messy was not a serious contender.

Others in the race were Koffi Annan, who was by that time the Undersecretary General for Peace-Keeping Operations, and Boutros Boutros Ghali, the Egyptian, who was the incumbent and was resented by the Americans and British.

Otunnu, who had heavy media support from leading newspapers such as the New York Times, hoped to win as a compromise candidate by strategically creating a stalemate between Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros Ghali. His strategy, however, failed when Boutros Ghali finally withdrew from the race to leave Annan as the most credible candidate, endorsed by his government.
I was a key player in these events and I know what happened and how.

Otunnu officially renounced Ugandan nationality
What Ugandans do not know is that Otunnu officially renounced his Ugandan nationality and he must, therefore, stop telling lies about President Museveni.

In 1997, he was appointed UN Under-Secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. As is the practice, the UN secretariat made an announcement in a news bulletin describing Otunnu as a Ugandan.

A few days later, the secretariat was forced to correct itself and informed the world in another news bulletin that Otunnu was not a Ugandan but an Ivorian. This was dictated by Otunnu himself and not by President Museveni. I know these facts because I was the ambassador at the time.

A selfish man who has done nothing for the Acholi children
As Under-Secretary General for Children, Otunnu had a huge pot of dollars. But at no time did he come to Uganda to support the children of Acholi. Instead, he used to fly to Khartoum and hob nob with the leadership of the regime whose relationship with Kony is well known.

I often challenged him to denounce the atrocities and the brutality committed by Kony, but he has never done so. Today Otunnu is being hyped as a hero and a political heavy weight by the likes of Jack Sabiti. The truth is that he is not a political threat to the NRM. He can, of course, throw confusion in the UPC but that is their business.

As far as the NRM is concerned, we shall be happy to campaign against him because we know the atrocities which were committed against our people by the regimes he supported. The NRM will defeat him. Even in the North, we shall challenge him and demonstrate what he has failed to do for the victims of Kony.
The writer is Uganda’s ambassador to Dubai

Olara Otunnu should stop telling Ugandans lies

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