NRM bureau will use SMS, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Hi5, YouTube and the website www.nrm.ug to reach supporters
President Museveni has said that he is ready to face The Hague-based International Criminal Court if indicted over the killing of at least 30 people in last September’s riots in Kampala and parts of Buganda.
Some youth with links to the Inter-Party Alliance recently petitioned the ICC, seeking the indictment of the President, the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima and the Inspector General of Police Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura over the deaths.
But the President said on Friday that the petitioners were wasting their time.
“Those people going to The Hague are wasting their time—they are just making a fool of themselves,” said the President while opening the NRM Communication Bureau on Plot 87, Kira Road in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb.
“If I committed crimes against humanity, I would be very happy to be tried,” Museveni said.
The President added that the killing of those civilians did not amount to crimes against humanity as the petitioners claim. Museveni said that only genocide or mass rape can be described as crimes against humanity.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines ‘crimes against humanity’ as offences that constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation, or a degradation of one or more human beings.
The President further said that a case can be taken to the ICC only when the local system is unwilling or unable to handle the matter.
To demonstrate that the country has internal capacity to deal with impunity, the President said that 123 soldiers have been executed over murder since he came to power in 1986 .
“Even when we catch [LRA leader, Joseph] Kony, we will try him here and not in The Hague. Here; we shall hang him but if you send him to The Hague they will just put him in a hotel,” he said.
The only sitting head of state to ever be indicted by the ICC is Sudan’s Omar el Bashir.
WAR OF WORDS
While launching the bureau, the President said that it will enable his NRM party fight the “war of words” with the media, which he accuses of unfairly bashing his government.
“We helped to create media houses by creating a good atmosphere for them but now they are mainly bashing NRM and telling lies. The new generation of NRM will fight our war of words with them,” he said.
The President further said that the bureau is a landmark in the history of NRM and it will be used to tell the NRM story. The bureau will use communication tools such as mass SMS, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Hi5, YouTube and their website www.nrm.ug to reach supporters locally and abroad.
Writers have been hired to write articles for the website and also to do a daily update of photos and speeches. Through its 6,760 mass text messaging, the party plans to send updates and party information to the 14 million Ugandans estimated to have mobile phones.
“This will be used to respond to criticism about NRM and [detoxicate] venom about NRM in the public,” said the NRM Spokesperson, Mary Karooro Okurut. “The bureau is going to help us to quicken the flow of information and also end the problem of lack of communication with our supporters,” Museveni said.
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