KAMPALA – The US embassy has said the Kampala government’s use of the military to quell the protests at Makerere University is uncalled for and contradicts the rights to free expression as enshrined in Uganda’s constitution.
The army and police have been in the spotlight after footage last week emerged showing soldiers and police officers beating up students in a bid to stop the protests which are against the 15% tuition fees increment policy.
And now, the US embassy in Kampala has said the heavy-handed response by security services is uncalled for.
“The U.S. Mission in Uganda is increasingly concerned about the violence at Makerere University in response to ongoing protests against the proposed tuition increases. Footage of security services attacking unarmed students in their residence halls and attacks on journalists covering the protests are especially disturbing,” the statement issued on October 28, 2019, reads in part.
“This heavy-handed response by security services is uncalled for, and is a direct affront to the freedoms of assembly, speech and expression guaranteed by Uganda’s constitution. We urge the Government of Uganda to allow all Ugandans to exercise their basic rights peacefully and without fear,” the statement adds.
The US response comes after the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) said they will hold Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Muzeyi Sabiiti and Chief of Defence Forces Gen. David Muhoozi personally accountable for what they described as brutality and molestation of students during the ongoing strike at Makerere University.
“Gen. Yoweri Museveni and his wife Janet Kataha, minister of education, must be ashamed of this barbaric behavior. Such raids last happened during Idi Amin and Milton Obote regimes. The UPDF has now officially been turned into a tool of suppression,” FDC spokesman Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said at a press conference in Kampala on Monday.
He added: “It is UPDF that invades court, Parliament and now Makerere. The country will and should hold individual UPDF officers behind these operations such as Maj. Gen. Muzeyi Sabiti (acting Inspector General of Police) and Gen. David Muhoozi (Chief of Defence Forces) responsible for the brutality,” he added.