In his first major move to rebuild Uganda's government, the leader of the country's four-day-old military regime, Lt. Gen. Tito Okello, today named members to a military-dominated ruling council.
One appointee, however, a field commander in Uganda's five-year-old rebel movement, turned down the job, according to a Nairobi spokesman for the National Resistance Army. Rebel leaders, with about 3,000 well-armed and experienced troops, also complained that they had not been consulted in the formation of the new government.
Okello, meanwhile, in a surprise move, flew this afternoon to neighboring Tanzania for a meeting with that country's president, Julius Nyerere, according to the Foreign Ministry in Dar es Salaam. Okello, 71, a career military officer, spent about eight years in exile in Tanzania during the reign of Idi Amin.
These moves came as relative calm returned to the capital of Kampala, according to news agency and radio reports. Nearly every store and office has been looted since Saturday's coup overthrew the five-year-old government of president Milton Obote.
Pedestrians returned to the streets and some offices and shops opened. There was, however, almost nothing in the city to buy, according to the reports. While gunfire and looting have stopped, diplomats said Kampala is facing a severe food and water shortage. Looters took nearly all the city's food during the past three days, and the terminal that stores goods trucked east from Kenya also was ransacked. The main fuel depot and one of the main water supply lines have been damaged, and parts of Kampala are without electricity.
Diplomats in Nairobi said today that dependents from several western embassies, including those of the United States, France and Italy along with some employes of the United Nations, are to be bused Wednesday into Kenya. Their departure would require cooperation from the new government, which has closed the country's borders and airports.
The refusal today of rebel commander Salem Saleh to accept a seat on the ruling council is a setback for the new government. Rebel attacks, and the disharmony they bred in the Army, were one of the major reasons for the overthrow of Obote.
Saleh is the brother of the founder and leader of the National Resistance Army, Yoweri Museveni. From Stockholm, where he was visiting his family, Museveni made friendly overtures to coup leaders over the weekend. But a statement by the rebels, released here today, expressed "annoyance" over the looting in Kampala and condemned what it said was the involvement in the new government of "some factions of former dictator Idi Amin's army."
According to Radio Uganda, the other appointees to the ruling council, headed by Tito Okello, are Brig. Basilio Olara Okello (no relation to the head of state), who led Saturday's coup, five Army colonels, a civilian lawyer and the general manager of Uganda Airlines.
The new government today called for the return of Obote to face charges of committing atrocities, Radio Uganda reported. The deposed leader has been granted asylum in Kenya, according to diplomats in Nairobi. The U.S. State Department and Amnesty International have charged that thousands of civilians were tortured and killed by soldiers during Obote's presidency.
State radio also said the government called for members of the military units linked to torture under Obote to report to authorities and met with bankers to discuss the country's shattered economy.
[Reuter reported that the leader of the opposition Democratic Party wrote a letter in support of Tito Okello.]