Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Norbert Mao has claimed that intelligence reports have proven that foreign agents were behind protests by National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine in November 2020.
The protests and their aftermath crackdown, which claimed the lives of about 50 people according to government records, shook the nation and cast President Museveni in bad light months to an election.
Speaking at the release of the Uganda Law Society (ULS) state of the rule of law report for the third quarter of 2023, Mao revealed that a phone tap had revealed details of a plan by an opposition leader to use protests to take power.
The phone tap information also reportedly revealed a European fundamentalist advising a leading opposition candidate to pour thousands of his supporters on the streets so as to provoke security agencies.
“The Ugandan intelligence picks up a phone call from a so-called international partner, a regime change fundamentalist from Europe calling a leading opposition leader in the heat of presidential campaigns,” said Mao.
“[The fundamentalist] says ‘you know what, in order to achieve our objectives of removing the dictator, please bring thousands and thousands of your supporters to the streets and if the security forces are provoked enough, if at least five hundred of them can be killed then the international community will have the basis to declare that they should invoke the right to protect.’ That kind of information, only the state gets it; the president of the law society does not get it.”
He also revealed that former deputy inspector of police Maj Gen Sabiti Muzeeyi was fired for mishandling the November 2020 protests.
“I think you know that he was at the forefront of those operations. If you are a subject of disciplinary procedure, it is based on your decision making power. So, if you make the right decision you are rewarded; if you make the wrong decision then you are subjected to discipline,” said Mao.
The handling of the protests also prompted the United States government to issues sanctions against Maj Gen Abel Kandiho, who previously headed the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI). (Read Stories Here and There).
Mao urged families of victims of November 2020 riots to organize themselves and demand compensation from the Museveni government instead of “putting their faith in the political parties that are pretending to be fighting for them.”
Museveni minister Mao further claimed that he was able to secure the release of MPs Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana because their parents directly came to him.
Museveni appointed Mao a minister last year. Mao would later claim that he had convinced Museveni to peacefully hand over power in 2031 but Museveni came back and told off his minister and DP leader, an indicator that their deal could be going wrong. (See Details Here, There and Over There).