A4C PRESS STATEMENT
At KAMPLA, September 29, 2011 –
It is disturbing that the Inspector General of Police has chosen to link our peace loving non-violent group to terrorism. His statement is a warning that the State will soon increase repression of citizens and persecution of activists.
We hesitated to respond to IGP Kale Kayihura because we may lift his remarks out of the gutter where they belong into the realm of civilized debate. However, we realize that if his lies go unchallenged they will cause unnecessary fear, create suspicion about the nature of our activities and may erode the public’s confidence in our objectives. Moreover, our silence will be used to justify further misuse of public funds on ghost security projects. A4C has inadvertently created a lucrative security industry and boosted sales and commissions for those dealing in anti-riot gear, mambas, and tear gas. These dealers make losses and police bosses miss their special allowances when we are not campaigning so even when A4C has no activities the ‘security industry’ must manufacture reasons for continuing to drain the national purse.
Since we launched our activities on April 7, 2011 we have chosen overt means of operation. Our activities are always publicized ahead of time, the public is informed, and we have always acted lawfully and peacefully. The state on the other hand has responded with harsh retribution; injuring, maiming and killing many innocent Ugandans.
From the start the government was not prepared to deal with citizen’s peaceful protests and defiance. A government whose reflex reaction to domestic and regional political problems is to reach out for a gun was unprepared and vulnerable when its citizens chose to confront it peacefully.
To this day the government is reeling in confusion on how to deal with A4C and they have chosen the easiest option, the only one this government knows and that is to criminalize any group that oppose its policies. Our simple programs and methods have evoked the most panicky and aggressive response from the state. Since February this year the State has increased the visibility and presence of security forces on our streets not in fear of a sinister terrorist organization but in fear of its own people.
The use of non-existent rebel groups to malign political opponents of government is well known. Even polite NRM dissenters are immediately ostracized and labeled as subversive.
It may be recalled that in 2001 Government seized a consignment of pangas alleging that it’s political opponents had imported them plotting a genocide. In the end, Ugandans paid billions in damages to the importer in compensation.
During the W-2-W campaign, Government arrested ordinary hard-working citizens trading in bows and arrows, claiming that it was A4C getting arms to cause chaos! It was also during the W2W campaign that police announced that it discovered plans by Al Shabab to plant roadside bombs in Kampala!
A4C is not a secret organization. Its coordinators are well known and appear in the media often. Our activities are well publicized and require no covert planning. All charges that have been brought against A4C activists since the Walk to Work campaigns began have been dismissed by Ugandan courts with contempt. Many activists are indeed preparing to take legal action against the state for malicious prosecution. We are also instructing our lawyers to start private prosecution of the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura for the criminal statements that he made against us in the media.
When popular dissent started in Benghazi early this year, Gaddafi declared that the demonstrators were pot-smoking terrorists linked to Al Qaeda; an organization that trains terrorists in Afghanistan. Therefore, the attempt to link A4C to terror groups in Afghanistan is not original for a sinking government, but it cannot be taken lightly. It is inconceivable that the IGP can go public with such statements before using such important intelligence information to arrest the culprits. A4C categorically denies recruiting non Ugandans into any of its campaigns and scorns on the attempt to link it to foreign terrorist groups. We encourage the Police to do its job by quickly hunting down such unsavory characters if they exist at all.
A4C activists are committed to hand over any criminals who try to infiltrate its campaigns to the Police. However, we must state that the immediate enemy of Ugandans is not the terrorist outside our borders. The real and imminent danger is from internal terrorists who are killing Ugandans by failing to address pressing economic problems. The most lethal enemy is the one killing Ugandans by stealing funds meant for projects that support the poor. The real enemy is the one who is blind to the thousands of Ugandans who go to sleep hungry every night. Kale Kayihura should heed the advice of Justice Katutsi and turn his guns on corrupt government officials to save Ugandan lives.
A4C is not the problem, activism is not the problem; in fact we believe that increased activism is the answer to the problem. Our activities will continue and they will be better organized and executed. Our message to Kale Kayihura and the government is simple: Do not shoot the messenger. Deal with unprecedented stealing of public funds, unemployment, poverty, skyrocketing fuel and food prices, scandalous health services, pay destitute teachers, medical workers, and Yes, even the policemen a living wage. – Deal with our message and stop brutalizing the messengers. Our message is crystal clear. We will not back down because our rights are not guaranteed by Kayihura, but by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
The W2W campaign was called off to offer government an opportunity to address the concerns of Ugandans through the 2011/12 National budget. The plans and actions of government are now clear. It is business as usual.
When we started protesting, a liter of petrol was UGX 3,400=, it now goes for UGX 3,900=; a kilo of sugar was UGX at 2,800/- and now it is UGX 6,000/=. A sack of charcoal was UGX 25,000/= and now it is UGX 75,000/=. Every day there are reports of billions of shillings lost in shoddy contracts; even cash is stolen from State House vaults. New districts are mushrooming everywhere. The president can spend billions more on a private visit to India and donate to foreign countries, but the long suffering teachers cannot find any relief from destitution.
This grotesque betrayal of public trust is what A4C protests. We call upon all patriotic Ugandans to join hands once again in protesting the mismanagement of our affairs.
For God and My Country
Hon. Mathias Mpuuga (MP)
National Coordinator A4C