Ugandans abroad issues 5 demands to gov’t as opposition candidates are ever arrested
Last Updated on: 24th November 2020, 09:46 pm
“Brutality meted on a presidential candidate, his supporters and innocent citizens of Uganda is unacceptable and should be universally condemned,” Lydia Natoolo, UNAA’s vice president.
Kampala—24, November 2020: Ugandans in North America under their association—Ugandan North America Association (UNAA) has asked government to allow existence of equal and favourable political space and environment for opposition candidates.
In their statement released on 24 November 2020, under the subject: “CONDEMNING POLICE BRUTALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN UGANDA”, UNAA vice president, Lydia Natoolo, among others issued five key demands to government.
But first, the statement reads: “These last couple of weeks have been monumental ones in global politics. Especially, for us Ugandans in North America. On Saturday, November 7, 2020, we watched the jubilation around the US and across the globe, as former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris were declared President-Elect and Vice President-Elect, respectively! We congratulate them.”
“However, as Americans went to the polls, and the eyes of the international community were glued to TV sets watching the American democratic process play out, the government back in our beloved motherland Uganda used the opportunity to terrorise its citizenry,” the statement further reads.
The UNAA Vice president added in the same statement that “On Tuesday, November 3, 2020, Uganda Security Forces intercepted a peaceful nomination day motorcade/convoy of the National Unity Platform (NUP), aka People Power President and Member of Parliament (Kyandondo East) Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (aka Bobi Wine), and violently arrested him and his aides and supporters—including the NUP National spokesperson and Parliamentary Candidate (Nakawa) Joel Senyonyi, and many other NUP leaders.”
The UNAA leader on behalf of all association members said this recent incident that happened on Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s nomination day “left our (their) hearts broken”, adding: “A nomination day should have been a day of pride for him, his family and supporters and for the entire nation. A day of hope and jubilation for all Ugandans.”
“But, to our horror, we watched on live TV as the Uganda Police and other security organs turned against the very vulnerable people they were supposed to protect. They didn’t even spare the presidential candidate that they were sent to escort to the nomination grounds!”
“Furthermore, on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, again the police brutally attacked and stopped that National Unity Platform presidential flag bearer and arrested him along with others, sprayed tear gas and bullets into the crowds of both his supporters and bystanders.”
“In the aftermath, protests by citizens demanding for the release of presidential candidate Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu erupted in many parts of the country. Sadly, the government responded with deadly force—as we have all watched indiscriminate teargassing and shooting by security forces leaving many Ugandans dead and injured.”
UNAA says “such brutality meted on a presidential candidate, his supporters and innocent citizens of Uganda is unacceptable and should be universally condemned”.
Addressing the country last week on security situation following Bobi Wine’s arrest and deadly protests “countyrwide”, Gen. Elly Tumwine who’s the country’s security minister said “police has a right to shoot and kill any protestors”.
The minister’s statement has been condemned by a group of Christian lawyers in Uganda.
Mr Ssemwanga Fredrick, the secretary general (SG) of Uganda Catholic Lawyers’ Society (UCLS) has demanded security minister to show any section of the Law which permits police powers to shoot civilian in self-protection.
He termed it “unfortunate” when you “hear a top government official saying police can shoot and kill. “It’s not founded under the law,” he added.
UNAA further states that the incidents happening in Uganda “are not isolated incidents”. “We have witnessed many instances of police officers and other security forces brutalising innocent citizens—injuring many of our fellow citizens, illegally detaining others, and even murdering some.”
They say they “We cannot continue to sit idly by!”
“As leaders and Ugandans in the diaspora, we have to speak out against these wrongs, and against the evil and lawless actors and their master(s) who perpetrate them.”
- The government of Uganda to make sure that security officers who violate citizens’ rights are held accountable of their actions.
- The government of Uganda to retrain their security officers on human rights and constitutional rights of Uganda and their proper role of keeping law and order.
- The government of Uganda to make sure it accords full and equal protection (under the law) to all political candidates in this election season—especially the duly nominated presidential candidates—including Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.
- The government of Uganda to allow presidential candidates to freely campaign for election—and not to use the Covid-19 pandemic measures/restrictions to curtail candidate’s rights to access the electorate.
- Most importantly, for the immediate release of all NUP members, supporters, and activists who are still jailed in various detention centres and safe houses around the country.
“This is a delicate moment for Uganda. We are all aware of the history of our country. The government should do all in its power to ensure there is a stable environment in Uganda—to hold a credible, peaceful and a free and fair election,” vice president Lydia Natoolo stated.
She also says Uganda “has bled enough, and for so long”, recalling that “the horrifying images and videos of police brutality do not present a good image for Uganda, and undermine potential investor’s confidence in the country”.
“In solidarity, we the leaders and Ugandans in diaspora will continue to be the voice of the voiceless,” Natoolo promises, concluding with popular quotes like:
“The future depends on what you do today”—Mahatma Gandhi.
“Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything”—Alexander Hamilton.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are”—Benjamin Franklin.