He stressed that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) together with other sister agencies, will not just look on when some political groups are trying to distablise peace in the country.
ELECTION WATCH | SECURITY
As Ugandans prepare for the 2021 general elections, the State Minister for Defense and Veteran Affairs, Christopher Kibazanga, has warned various political groups against engaging in acts of violence.
He stressed that the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) together with other sister agencies, will not just look on when some political groups are trying to distablise peace in the country.
"Acts of the violence will not be accepted. The UPDF and other security agencies are ready to deal with those who intend to distablise the country during the election period. We want to ensure that Ugandans exercise their democratic right to vote leaders of their choice," he noted.
He said this during an interview with the New Vision on the sidelines of the roundtable donor meeting on the National Action Plan III (NPA III) on Women Peace and Security (WPS), agenda under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325).
The five-year project running till 2025, is aimed at empowering women towards mitigating conflicts in communities.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD), UN Women and the Ministry of Defense.
Kibazanga said the government will not entertain any violent political activities from any political group.
"Bad politics is not good for our country. We need to ensure Ugandans enjoy co-existence irrespective of their religion, ethnicity, colour or political ideologies," he said.
He urged all contenders at various levels to hold their campaigns mindfully and guide their supporters not to engage in violent activities.
"Those who are dreaming that they can cause a state of insecurity; you are day-dreaming. The security agencies are more than ready to secure this country. We can't allow slipping into conflict just because of an election which is just five years," he noted.
Kibazanga noted those who lose should just go home and wait for another five years but not to cause conflict because of their own interests.
"In every race, we must have one winner. Even after elections, we want losers to accept defeat and wait for another five years," he said.
He noted that all parties should promote their ideologies to Ugandans and allow them to make a choice than using promoting hate politics, which divides people.
At the event, most participants from the international community raised concerns over the ongoing events in the country ahead of the elections.
They called on the government to ensure a peaceful exercise, saying that women and children remain the most vulnerable groups in case conflicts arise.
They stressed that there is a need for the government to effectively implement various policies and laws to protect women against all kinds of abuses and conflicts.
However, Kibazanga said the government through the NAP III on WPS, is working to outlaw some bad cultures that push women behind doors.
He said advancing gender equality and women empowerment in different spheres is a prerequisite for attaining sustainable peace and security in the country.
He stressed that NAP III takes a holistic view of security by addressing a number of issues that are potentially conflict drivers in society and flexible enough to respond to any changes in the implementation context and emerging realities at the local level.
He noted that with the worsening economic inequality and more people falling back into extreme poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government through various programs needs to redouble efforts to address the problem, to avoid conflicts in the long run.
"The development of this plan is an opportunity to create fair, equitable and just societies, build social cohesion, expand access to socio-economic opportunities and enhance gender inequality and women empowerment," Kibazanga said.