President Museveni has responded to Burundian leader Pierre Nkurunziza, saying he needs to negotiate with coup plotters and forge a new path for his country.
Nkurunziza had in his letter asked Museveni if he would ever sit with coup planner after trying to remove him from power.
In a stinging letter, which ChimpReports has exclusively obtained, Museveni said: “You even ask me whether I would sit down with the coup makers and terrorists, etc. The answer is actually, “yes”. Uganda would not have been saved if the revolutionary forces led myself for the last 53 years (student movements, Fronasa, NRM, etc) had not both fought against and negotiated with coup makers, terrorists etc.”
Museveni further said: “The first coup was in 1966, led by Obote; the second was in 1971 led by Idi Amin; the third was the rigged election of 1980. The actors in most of these events or their followers are now part of our government.”
Museveni’s statement comes at a time of heightened tensions between Burundi and Rwanda.
Nkurunziza told Museveni that he considered Rwanda an “enemy country” for destabilizing Burundi – a claim Kigali denies.
Rwanda President Paul Kagame yesterday warned his army is too solid to be shaken by enemies whom he said “will never be able to defeat us.”
Most of the dissidents Nkurunziza accuses of planning the failed coup are holed up in Rwanda where he says receive support from Kagame’s government.
Writing to Museveni about a fortnight ago, Nkurunziza said, “In addition to the fact that Rwanda has prepared and supervised the coup detat of 2015, the coup perpetrators and other criminals have taken up residence where they receive support to attack Burundi; crossing the Rwanda-Burundi border or via the East of Democratic Republic of Congo as well as getting them assistance and travel documents to enable them to circulate in the region and even in Europe.”
Rwanda didn’t respond to these claims.
Museveni who loves writing letters said accommodating political and military rivals “is how Uganda was stabilized. It’s actually part of the revolutionary strategy; fight when necessary and negotiate when necessary.”
Museveni said in the case of Burundi “the facilitator didn’t insist on the coup-makers sitting in the negotiations. What, then, is the problem?”
He gave an example of Lords Resistance Army whose leadership he held talks with.
“I negotiated with Kony who had killed thousands, cut off people’s ears so that they do not hear his atrocities; cut off their lips so that they have no mouths with which to report his activities. It is him that, in the end, refused to sign. That’s when we went after him in Convo and Central African Republic,” said Museveni.
It remains unclear if Nkurunziza has responded to Museveni’s letter.
Museveni wrote in his capacity as Chairperson Regional Inter-Burundi Dialogue.
Nkurunziza’s hardliner stance has in recent weeks raised concerns about his ability to forgive political rivals in the broader interest of preserving political stability for Burundi.
An arrest warrant was recently issued by Burundian authorities for the arrest of former leader Pierre Buyoya for reportedly participating in the assassination of ex Hutu leader Melchior Ndadaye.
AU officials have since warned such developments threaten to plunge Burundi into political turmoil.
However, Nkurunziza appears determined to crack the whip.