KAMPALA – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has warned that tolerating impunity is one of the factors would create distrust between the government and its citizens.
In a speech on Tuesday, Mr. Musaveni said that allowing soldiers to misbehave towards civilians and letting them go scot-free tarnishes the image of the country.
Museveni said every revolutionary movement needs to prioritize army discipline by putting the interest of the citizens first.
“Tolerating impunity, that is another big danger. When people make mistakes like killing, rape, and defilement,” Museveni said.
Addressing the swearing in ceremony of members of the National Dialogue Steering Committee on Tuesday, President Museveni said such crimes should not be tolerated.
“The UPDF, we were calling it NRA that time; we revived Uganda by very strict discipline. You kill a person, we kill you in public; shoot you. You rape a woman, unakula risasi [you bite a bullet].That is how we regain the trust of the public,” he said.
In February this year, while visiting Yei, President Salva Kiir also made similar remarks when he ordered the SPLA General Command to report to him any soldier accused of raping women or girls anywhere in the country.
“From today onward, if it [murder or rape] happens, I want them to bring me a report that somebody has committed such a crime and has been shot [dead], ” Kiir said.
“Let us do one thing; we get rid of bad elements among us and we remain clean, pure and perfect,” he added.
No report of any soldier executed has been brought to public. President Kiir whose speech today at the swearing in ceremony came immediately after President Museveni, did not comment on the issue.
President Museveni commended Kiir for the initiative and called on other leaders to join in the process.
“The use of violence in every situation is dangerous. Violence should be a last resort and targeted not indiscriminate.”
He urged the SPLM as a ruling party to allow frank discussion to take place, and agree on ideas through voting or consensus.
“Speak frankly within the [SPLM] party, reach decisions by voting or by consensus. Never use force,” Museveni said.
President Museveni also shun politics of division using tribal affiliations. He said politics based on identity is one of the biggest challenge facing Africa.
“Emphasizing identity at the expense of interest is not good. It’s not your tribe that will ensure your prosperity. Its your neighbor who buys your goods,” he added.
He also encouraged South Sudanese leaders to use ideas to defeat their opponents rather than resort to violence.
President Yoweri Museveni also said that continuous violence will discourage the private sector from investing in the economy. He said this will impact negatively on the development of South Sudan.
©Alleastafrica and agencies