Parliament has summoned the Chief of Defense Forces General Aronda Nyakairima and Defense Minister, Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, over their recent comments of a possible military coup in Uganda.
Simon Mulongo, the vice chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs, told the media on Sunday that the two officials are wanted to clarify to Ugandans their reasons for suggesting a possible overthrow of the government by the army. He said they also want to know their intention for such comments.
Mulongo, the Member of Parliament for Bubulo East in Manafwa district, says the 20-member committee is concerned about the comments which he says have thrown the country into panic.
At the height of disagreements between Parliament and the Executive two weeks ago, Dr Kiyonga said that the army was watching and that there was a possibility that it could re-insert itself should the politicians in Parliament continue not showing seriousness to solve the problems facing the country.
He said that such an intervention would be carried out to refocus the country’s future.
Days later, President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 27 years, was also quoted to have told the ruling NRM party Members of Parliament in their Kyankwanzi retreat that if the confusion in Parliament persists, the military would not allow it. This came shortly after MPs collected signatures and petitioned Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to recall Parliament from recess to discuss what some of them called an attack on the independence of the Legislature by the president.
On January 23, while addressing a press conference in Kampala to announce plans for this year’s Army Day, General Aronda Nyakairima, the Chief of Defence Forces, repeated the threats when he said the military would not allow bad politics to take Uganda back into turmoil. He said the message about a possible coup was well taken for those to who it was intended, warning them that should they not change course, “other things will be brought into play.”
The comments have drawn hasty condemnation from the government’s critics who claim that President Museveni wants to set a ground to carry out a ‘palace coup’ and replace the current relative democratic order with a military government.
Mulongo says the committee which is mandated by Parliament to oversee the activities and programmes of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Uganda Police Force and the Uganda Prisons Service, wants the two to divulge details of their comments.
He said they are waiting for the Clerk to Parliament to schedule a date on which the committee will sit to listen from the two officials.
Attempts by Uganda Radio Network to get a comment from the Clerk to Parliament were futile as repeated calls on the official telephone contact went unanswered.
However, Colonel Felix Kulayigye, the army spokesperson while speaking to the media on Monday said that the comments about a possible coup in Uganda have been over exaggerated by the media.