MUSEVENI APOLOGY

Kenyan MPs demand apology from Museveni 

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni comments on Kenya’s Pokot community have sparked outrage among leaders.

In off the cuff remarks during the inauguration of Mr Uhuru Kenyatta as Kenya fourth president, Mr Museveni said the Pokot have been stealing his livestock.

“I thank the government of Kenya. They gave me a new MP from West Pokot to bring me here. Pokots have been stealing my cows. I have agreed with that MP. I want to ask President Uhuru to ensure that the people of West Pokot stop stealing my cows,” said President Museveni in Kiswahili, causing laughter.

The area along the Kenya-Uganda border is prone to cattle rustling.

Deputy President William Ruto promptly responded in Kiswahili saying: “I assure you that the people of West Pokot will stop stealing your cows,” adding that President Museveni’s words were made in jest.

Three MPs from West Pokot County did not take it lightly though and now want President Museveni to apologise for “demonising the whole community as thieves”.

Stereotyping

MPs David Pkosing (Pokot South), Mark Lomunokol (Kacheliba) and Philip Rotino (Sigor) said the statement could not be taken as a joke because it came from a Head of State.

“We would like to register our disappointment, shock and disbelief to these unfortunate, unfounded and provocative remarks,” said Mr Pkosing at a press conference held at Parliament in Nairobi Wednesday evening.

They said the statement could have grave repercussions in sparking cross border tensions among pastoralist communities.

The legislators said the region had enjoyed relative peace in the past few years, blaming cattle rustling on criminals who cut across boundaries.

“We therefore find this attempt at stereotyping not only disturbing, but a genuine cause for demand for an unreserved apology,” said the MPs in a statement read out by Mr Pkosing.

Mr Lomunokul asked President Museveni to concentrate on disarming of communities in Uganda, including the Pokots, like the case has been in Kenya.

They appealed to President Kenyatta to tighten security and increase developments in the area, especially in education, health and infrastructure

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