KAMPALA – The Government of Uganda has recently admitted that security forces killed at least 54 civilians in November 2020 in its efforts to curtail protests arising out of the arrest of Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
Without providing timelines, President Yoweri Museveni is on record for saying that the government was investigating the killings.
Given the history of this country on investigating matters relating to human rights, it is not clear whether or not the investigations when completed would be made public and the culprits if any given their punishment.
Irrespective of whether the victims were rioters or not, the United States government insists that the investigations must be “independent, credible, impartial and thorough” investigations into alleged irregularities in Uganda’s presidential elections.
To the US, the outcome of the investigations must ensure that members of state security services probed for alleged abuses against Opposition candidates and civil society are brought to book and exposed.
Mr Ned Price, the US Department of State spokesman noted that Uganda’s January 14 elections were marred by election irregularities and abuses by government through coercive arm without divulging specific details and that the Us would consider a range of targeted options to hold accountable those members of the security forces responsible for these actions.
In retaliation, Uganda said the US threats to sanction those involved in the human rights violations; “America cannot lecture Uganda on matters of elections, among other things,”. Government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, said.
Mr Ofwono said if there are any concerns about the Ugandan electoral process, the US government should raised them in writing before adding that the US should first fix their loopholes that marred their recent electoral process before making any attempt to rectify mistakes in a far-off country like Uganda.
He [Ofwono] further advised the US government to begin by fixing its own elections where according to President Donald Trump even the dead voted and Joe Biden is in office through fraud and so they should be the last to give lectures to Uganda.
Our Government is simply asking the Americans to mind their lane, to close their eyes and ears while we act with impunity as far as human rights are concerned.
To be honest, I know that America is a bully but I also know that when they sneeze, many countries catch a cold.
We all know that it is hard to separate the country called America and an international body called the UN and sometimes the European Union.
The UN largely takes note of what American has noted, a decision of the Americans is an order to the UN, they are a super power and like the name suggest, they do what pleases them at any time.
If it is an issue of shielding our ego, we should do so cunningly. I don’t really know why Ofwono Opondo responded to the threats on sanctions that way.
Commenting on threats to sanction top government officials, Ofwono Opondo demanded that the US government provides proof of the allegations. Since when did Americans make such statements without first gathering their evidence? Am certain the European Union and the US government have evidence well documented.
The threats to sanction Ugandan officials are not new, as the same threat have been echoed by the European Union which the President had castigated in his security address to the Nation on February 13, 2021.
President Museveni described their threats as “foreign interference” into Ugandan affairs and asked Ugandans to ignore them.
Is the EU and the UN conniving to blackmail Uganda with threats of sanctions, my answer is no, there is no smoke without fire even is if was coming from an exhaust pipe of a car or a chimney.
The after math of the threats saw our cabinet debate the matter which culminated into yet another meeting with EU envoys in Uganda to put the threat into perspective especially after a resolution by the EU Parliament calling for sanctions against some individuals and organisations allegedly involved in perpetuating human rights abuses.
The government of Uganda should be reminded that to protect human rights is to ensure that people receive some degree of decent, humane treatment and to violate the most basic human rights, on the other hand, is to deny individuals their fundamental moral entitlements.
It is, in a sense, to treat them as if they are less than human and undeserving of respect and dignity, let us as government Uganda Rethink human rights during the January 2021 elections before bark at an elephant that has come to our home.
The author, David Mafabi, is a veteran journalist and PML Daily senior writer