The assassination of Ibrahim Abiriga, MP (Arua Municipality) has left First Lady, Janet Kataha Museveni wondering whether it is now a crime to serve Uganda with passion.
Janet, who doubles as Minister of Education made the remarks this afternoon at Parliament where she had joined the rest of MPs to pay tribute to the fallen retired colonel.
Museveni said: “What sign is this? That serving a country with passion and dedication is a crime. What is this message? Abiriga spread love, understanding and good will right from Arua to Kampala. His actions, speeches, his work always portrayed love, the jokes and laughter even with children. Therefore, indeed all Ugandans loved him as others have said, across the whole country and now, all are in shock and in mourning.”
She said that whereas many have professed to loving Abiriga, there is still a group that had the capacity to hate Abiriga so much to the extent of mercilessly murdering him in cold blood, warning that the direction the killers had taken was regrettable.
The First Lady added: “And I can’t stop hoping that his death really becomes the mirror that all of us will now hold to ourselves, to search our hearts and ask ourselves questions whether our daily work, speech in any way could have contributed anything to this hatred that is bringing these merciless murders in our country.”
The Minister of Education said that whereas some people knew Abiriga as a harmless man who only loved his party, there are those that knew him in yellow, his desires to serve his country and the party with dedication, these same qualities might have inspired them to kill him in cold blood.
“While Abiriga spread love and understanding, there are many of us who spread hatred and poisonous stories that truly poison large sections of the society. In time, that poison goes and spills over as lava from a volcano and it runs through communities, destroying everything in its way,” Janet said.
The Minister accused Abiriga’s killers of trying to take back Uganda to the chaotic scenes that marred the nation in the 60’s to 80’s before her husband President Museveni grabbed power.
She asked rhetorically, “Is it possible that that is why our country has remained so backward for such a long time for generations? Do we inspire hatred so much that there is no room for making a critical departure from the past? Would we rather destroy the attempt to develop our backward communities so we go back to square one so that our children find the same chaos we found?”
Janet said that while it may be easy and it is okay for Ugandans to blame Government, because Government has the responsibility to protect people and blame Government for what it may and might not have done, the same people blaming Government shouldn’t forget the fact they have a responsibility of building this country.