Former Security Minister, Lt.Gen.Henry Tumukunde has said he is not surprised that he was arrested and imprisoned for over month after announcing his presidential bid.
Last month, the High Court in Kampala released Tumukunde on his second shot at bail after the first one failed.
The former spymaster is accused of treason and unlawful possession of fire arms.
In a statement released on Saturday, he said that imprisonment is the price he is being forced to pay after declaring his presidential ambitions.
“My imprisonment is the price that I have paid for offering myself for the leadership of this country. A price that many others have paid and continue to pay for having alternative views as we attempt to achieve true democracy, rule of law, economic transformation for all and a peaceful political transition,” he said in the statement.
Under treason, prosecution alleges that while appearing on NBS TV’s Morning Breeze show on March, 5, the former spymaster said: “If I was Rwanda, I would support those who want to cause change in Uganda.”
This statement has been construed to be aimed at instigating Rwanda to attack Uganda to cause unlawful change of government.
The comments also came at a time when the relations between the Kampala and Kigali establishments are at their lowest.
Under the unlawful possession of firearms, prosecution alleges that on March 13, he was found in possession of an AK-47 rifle and a star pistol without valid fire arm certificates for them.
In his statement, Tumukunde insisted that the charges didn’t hold any water but were rather meant to curtail his political opinion with government.
“It is not by coincidence that my arrest and subsequent imprisonment happened just eight days after my declaration to contest for the presidency of this nation,” he said.
Man of controversy
Despite being a close relative to First Lady Janet Museveni, Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde has been a controversial man for a long time and has challenged the status quo, even when he was still in active service of the army.
In 2005, he was arraigned before the army court in Makindye and charged with abuse of office and spreading harmful propaganda stemming from his comments while appearing on various political shows on radio during which he purportedly said it was time for Museveni to retire.
He was put under house arrest for nine years until 2013 when he was convicted by released after being sentenced to a severe reprimand ( caution).
Speaking in his latest statement, Tumukunde seemed to agree with the notion of being controversial but said he has spent almost all his time in competition of ideas.
“My lifelong belief has been in competition of ides and tolerance of alternative views. The soul of my belief is shaped by the conviction that one must defeat his opponent with superior arguments and alternative policies not by abuse of law, coercion, suppression and oppression.”
He added: “That has always been my path and philosophy.”
The former spymaster however said he will now back off his ambitions but also asked those in the opposition and ruling NRM party to join him to cause “an unprecedented peaceful change since independence.”
Speaking about Tumukunde’s troubles earlier this year, President Museveni dismissed the notion that Tumukunde was arrested over his presidential ambition but said the former spymaster went overboard in some of his comments.
“People are who want to be president are not arrested. Bobi Wine has said he wants to be president no one has arrested him. Tumukunde went beyond and there is evidence. I don’t want to go through this because it’s before court,”Museveni said in an exclusive interview with NBS Television last month.