Monday, 25 May 2015

Al-Shabaab Terror scare used by Uganda and Burundi Regimes to Silence Democracy

Both Uganda and Burundi have peace keeping troops in Somalia thus they have enjoyed military and economic support from the West and the USA in particular. For Museveni, the Somali Peace Mission was a God sent opportunity to blackmail the West against any queries over his dictatorship. Whenever he is faced with an intense internal political dissent, he invokes the Al-Shabaab terror scare to curtail freedom of assembly, speech, and association. Being a master of deceit, he has repeatedly stage-managed and fabricated terror threats that on many occasions have turned out to be a hoax but after he has achieved his intended goal.

He has enacted draconian laws designed to curtail political dissent under the guise of fighting terrorism - the Public Order Management Act, the Anti-terrorism Act and the current Anti-terrorism (amendment) bill. He has used the terrorism threat to inflate the Defenze budget at the expense of other vital areas like Health, Education and Education. He has in the same regard had a leeway to mismanage security services by creating factionalism in form of parallel security outfits i.e SFG, Flying Squad, Special Investigation Unit, Vioelent Crime Crack Unit, JATT, Crime Preventers, etc.
He is about to link the present Teachers' strike to terrorism as a way of subduing the teachers into submission. The military drilling and arming of millions of party youth disguised as Crime Preventers, intensified recruitment into the Police Force, the constant transfers of Police Commanders, the eviction of certain categories and classes of economic players from the city center, the destruction of public schools, the rampant and mysterious fires in markets and other commercial premisses, militarisation of city law enforcement, the ongoing rampant arrests of urban youth in major towns for being idle and disorderly, destruction and reconstruction of markets whose rent is unaffordable, etc are all designed to counter the much anticipated 'people power'. 
It is in this regard that the Police Chief Gen Kalekyezi has averted a protest by the public transport sector by promising to investigate and arrest any police officer found to have been harassing transporters. He hoodwinked them when he stated thus: " ....do you think it is humane to let someone languish in prison because of committing a crime of disorderly behavior" adding that "lets be just in some cases.

He has not publicly commented on the ongoing protests in Burundi because he is in the same boat. More so he is disappointed with the slow space of the East African Community intergeration that would have provided his much craved for Standby Brigade that would by now have reached Burundi to keep Nkurunziza in power. Immediately there was a coup attempt in Burundi, the following day for the first time a video purported sent by Al-Shabaab showing an unmasked and non Somali fighter donning military fatigue and brandishing an AK 47 riffle went viral. In the video, 'Al-Shabaab is threatening to attack Uganda and Burundi. 
As usual Uganda issued a terror alert for fear that Ugandans would follow the Burundi example and invade the streets for protests against the 30 years of military dictatorship. At the same time leading opposition figures like Dr. Besigye and the Kampala City Lord Mayor were blocked from attending an Electoral Reforms workshop, arrested and detained. 

The two politicians were alleged to have plotted to cause insecurity in the city. Five days later, the same politicians were blocked from leaving their residences and proceed to parliament where they were supposed to present their views on electoral reforms to the parliamentary sectoral committee. It is reported that it took the intervention of the USA Embassy for the Police to lift the blockade.

Too late for Nkurunziza

Ever since Burundi deployed its troops to Somalia it had never been threatened by an Al-Shabaab (real or imagined) attack on its soil. Instead it has been Kampala that has always been under threat as if Burundi has tighter security than Uganda. President Nkurunziza had all along not exploited the Somali peace mission the same way Museveni has blackmailed the West and suppressed internal dissent under the guise of fighting terrorism. In March 2015, he had paid Museveni a one day visit and his host must have advised him to invoke the Al-Shabaab terror threat once protests would commence. Indeed,when protests brokeout in Bujumbura the government branded them terrorists. 
Following the failed coup attempt and the purported Al-Shabab threats as contained in a video release, President Nkurunziza addressed the country claiming that he had been preoccupied with fighting the Al-Shabaab terror threat. Unfortunately, the terror card has not deterred the protests and the west's condemnation of his highhandedness in the protests. The USA and the UN have called for an independent investigation in the murder of an opposition politician. Belgium cut aid to the Police force and the electoral body. The USA has suspended military aid to Burundi. The AU has called upon Nkurunziza to respect the Arusha Peace Agreement.

Sarah Nalukenge

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