The Second Deputy Prime Minister, Gen Moses Ali, has disowned recent remarks he reportedly made about former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, and attacked media for depicting him thus and causing hatred for the embattled NRM Secretary General in the country.
Gen Ali told dozens of parliamentary journalists at Imperial Royale hotel on Thursday that his comments were not in any way pointed to the former premier.
Ali is quoted to have referred to Mbabazi as a snake, which had been chased out of the NRM party by President Museveni.
While speaking to hundreds of locals in Adjumani at the celebration of the International Peace Day in September, Ali reportedly expressed gratitude to have survived the latest shuffle, and that the ruling party used smoke to chase the ‘snake’ away.
Today he said the remarks were published out of context.
“I only told my people that the normal practice when a snake enters your house and you don’t know where it is, it is dangerous to follow it with fire because you might step on its tail,” he said.
“The best practice therefore is to burn rubber and close the door; it will come out by itself. I never mentioned any names, even if you take me to court.”
Ali said there was nothing wrong with his observation, and cautioned the media to stop speculating when writing stories.
“You are giving wrong information to the people. You are not contemplating. Why do you put words in my mouth?” charged Gen Ali.
By making such insinuations, the General added, media was dangerously breeding enmity, hatred and incitement in society.
Gen Ali’s comments come just a day after Gen Kahinda Otafiire warned journalists against “invading the privacy” of Mbabazi and “harassing him and his family”.
Otafiire said Mbabazi, who was recently forced to take leave as SG by the NRM Central Executive Committee, “has not committed any crime. You journalists should leave him alone.”
Observers say the latest developments point to government’s plan to avoid washing its dirty linen in the public.
The controversies and negative media coverage triggered by the sacking of Mbabazi as Prime Minister coupled with a forced leave from his position as SG seem to have unsettled the ruling party.
As NRM prepares for the National Delegates Conference on December 15, it would want to have good media publicity – a reason the likes of Generals Otafiire and Ali are avoiding any remarks that could be point to the party’s internal disharmony.