By Milton Olupot and Madinah Tebajukira
OPPOSITION leaders have said the Government is responsible for the riots that engulfed the city last week. Several people died and property worth millions of shilling was destroyed when the youth went on rampage, protesting the Governmentâ€™s refusal of the Kabaka to visit Kayunga, citing security reasons.
In separate interviews yesterday, Forum for Democratic Change leader Col. Kizza Besigye, Progressive Peoples Party president Jaberi Bidandi SSali, Democratic Party chief John Ssebaana Kizito and UPC acting secretary general Chris Opoka dismissed President Yoweri Museveniâ€™s statement that the opposition was responsible for the riots.
They said the order to shoot on sight civilians who are not armed was unconstitutional. â€œThe controversy between Mengo and the Government has been going on even before political parties came into being,â€ Besigye said.
He attributed the riots to the marginalisation of people. â€œPeople pay taxes but it is estimated that sh500b is stolen every year. People who emerged from the bush with torn trousers are building multi-storied houses, while others are living in misery. There are no drugs in hospitals and impassable roads are everywhere,â€ he said.
Bidandi Sali said Museveniâ€™s reaction was dangerous for the stability of the country. He said the riots were a culmination of the wrong ways of handling issues and failure to handle political situations properly.
He called for a change in the governance system from a unitary, which he said has been a pre-occupation of every government since 1966, to a federal system. Ssebaana said the NRM government should take responsibility for the deaths and property damaged during the riot.
He said chaos started with the NRM government encouraging secession of cultural groups from Buganda Kingdom. â€œThe Banyala are not discriminated as Museveni wants people to believe. Martin Luther Nsibirwa was a respected Katikiro and he was a Munyala,â€ Ssebaana argued.
The Katikkiro of Buganda, Eng. John Baptist Walusimbi, said the President raised contentious issues that needed serious scrutiny before making comments.
FDC secretary general Alice Alaso, who is also the acting leader of opposition in Parliament, said the President was dragging the opposition into the saga to divert attention from the issues the kingdom was raising.