Besigye calls off media briefing on security reforms

By Vision Reporter

“I am sorry ladies and gentlemen; I cannot talk to you today because our leaders at FDC headquarters are holding their regular press conference," says the opposition politician.

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By Jerome Kule Bitswande

KAMPALA - Former FDC president Dr Kizza Besigye on Monday called off a press briefing in which he was expected to air his views on the latest reshuffle in the security leadership.

Journalists converged at his Katonga-based offices to get his reaction to the dropping of Gen. Kale Kayihura as Inspector General of Police (IGP).

President Museveni replaced Kayihura with Ochola Okoth, who will be deputised by Brig. Sabiiti Muzeyi.

During his 13-year tenure at the helm of the Police, Kayihura distinguished himself as one who would easily clamp down on opposition protests and demonstrations.

This always pitted him against opposition politician Besigye who, in most cases, was the brains behind demonstrations against the NRM government, including the 2011 walk-to-work protests.

Besigye, a retired colonel in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), has always protested the appointment of Kayihura, and soldiers generally, to lead the Uganda Police Force.

It was against this background that many journalists wanted to find out his thoughts on Sunday's reshuffle. Besigye had agreed to address the media over the matter on Monday at 10am.

But by 10:30am, he had not made an appearance. 

Besigye's personal assistant Ronald Muhinda then told reporters that his boss would not address the media on any security issues since FDC structures were likely to cover the same matter during their press conference.

FDC normally holds it official media briefings on Monday.

Muhinda revealed that Katonga is subordinate to Najjanankumbi (the FDC headquarters) and thus could not offer parallel statements on the same day.

This, however, did not move the scribes, who had noticed that Besigye was in his office. They pitched camp at his office until the retired colonel decided to come and talk to them.

“I am sorry ladies and gentlemen; I cannot talk to you today because our leaders at FDC headquarters are holding their regular press conference. They are there waiting for you, please go and cover them," he said.

Besigye revealed that at the time he agreed to address the media, it had skipped his mind that FDC holds its press briefings every Monday.

He thus promised to organise some other time in which to share his thoughts on the shake-up in the security leadership.

“If there are any residual matters that you want addressed specifically by me, we shall organise, probably tomorrow [Tuesday]."

Meanwhile, the reshuffle also saw Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde, who was appointed in 2016, dropped as security minister and replaced by his bush war colleague Gen. Elly Tumwine.