Student Leaders Get Threats Over Mbabazi

Following their resolution to front Amama Mbabazi as a potential patron, members of the Uganda National Students Association (UNSA) executive committee claim they have received threats from “State House” officials.

Last week, The Observer reported that Unsa had resolved to amend their constitution to replace President Museveni with former premier or former Anglican Church Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi. The current Unsa constitution makes the head of state its patron. However, after what the student leaders describe as lack of support from the president, they floated the idea of replacing him, attracting the wrath of state agents.

One committee member told The Observer yesterday that he had received late night calls from individuals claiming to be State House and senior military officials. The committee member quoted some of the callers as having said: “We have been following your moves, including your event at Kololo [the marathon attended by Mbabazi as chief runner]. You have crossed the red line. You should be ready for the heat.”

Unsa President Abubaker Matanda told The Observer on Tuesday that he too had received calls from state operatives. He, however, said he did not judge the calls to have been threatening.

“These people simply aised me to protect the person of the president,” he said.

Nevertheless, the calls “from above” now seem to have split the association, with one group looking to have cowed to pressure and the others sticking to their guns. The Observer understands that two Unsa leaders, the finance secretary and the secretary for international affairs, have started to push for the retention of Museveni as the student body’s patron.

The two have now locked horns with another camp led by the association’s publicist and the general secretary, who want Museveni replaced. But Matanda yesterday addressed a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre, in which he described the Uganda move to replace the president as “illegal”.

Matanda castigated some members for trying to push for Museveni’s replacement. He said the Mbarara meeting had proposed the creation of the post of a ‘co-patron’, but not a replacement for president. Meanwhile, the pro-change camp has planned a rally and a press briefing at Makerere University next week, in which they plan to denounce Matanda.

Source : The Observer

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