Police chief Kale Kayihura yesterday denied saying that the ruling NRM will not hand over power to the opposition to destabilize the country.
On Wednesday, The Observer quoted Kayihura as having said that they – presumably referring to the ruling National Resistance Movement – would not hand over power to the opposition.
The story ran under the headline ‘Rugunda, Kayihura disagree on 2016’, but the next day, prime minister Ruhakana Rugunda said if the NRM was defeated fairly, it would cede power to the opposition.
The prime minister, however, warned that if there was rigging by the opposition, the NRM would not give up power easily. The two men spoke in Kapchorwa, where crime preventers were passed out – Rugunda on Saturday, Kayihura on Friday.
The police chief was quoted as warning crime preventers in Kapchorwa to be ready to be called upon if war broke out, and that their sticks would be replaced with rifles.
However, a police statement issued yesterday to respond to the reports said: “We want to inform the public and the media fraternity that the IGP did not use the words by the journalists to meet his communication needs.
The journalists intended to provoke publicity and generate controversy by portraying the IGP in bad faith as an officer who does not uphold and observe rule of law.”
“We appeal to all, not to believe the story, and call upon the journalists and media managers to correct it by providing the public with information that is truthful.”
The police also released what it said was a verbatim of Kayihura’s full speech in Kapchorwa. Fred Enanga, the police spokesman, transcribed the statement and promised to provide the audio recording later.
The Observer story also gave context, showing that on several occasions, President Museveni had suggested that he was not ready to leave power – at least not to hand it over to opposition leaders he likened to wolves.