KAMPALA – Mr. Crispin Kaheru, a Ugandan political expert has said that President Yoweri Museveni’s message on human rights during his national briefing on security was timely.
Museveni on Saturday evening addressed the nation on security where he unexpectedly strongly warned security forces against acts of torturing and manhandling Ugandans.
Museveni said that people in uniform “must not bark at anyone or beat anyone, not even the wrong ones.”
Commenting on President’s remarks, Kaheru, the former Coordinator for Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) said that Uganda has gone through a period where civil and political rights have been put to a test, especially during the 2021 general elections.
“There have been incidents of torture, abductions; and murders over the past period. Many times these have instilled unnecessary fear within the public (in some cases lives have been lost),” he said.
Kaheru noted that it is good that the President has come out to account and send a strong warning to the perpetrators of these criminal actions.
“It is commendable that he realizes how a checkered human rights record could affect the legitimacy and image of the Government.”
He added that, “It all boils down to individual responsibility. It is my hope that after the President’s statement, the redress of all victims of torture (or their dependents) is fast tracked and those criminal acts stop. Justice delayed is justice denied.”
This, according to him, should also open up a fresh chapter for Ugandans to dialogue, heal and forge a way forward, together.
In his address, Museveni said that by putting on the uniform of Uganda, the forces “must respect the people.”
He said that people should be in leadership to serve the people, not their interests.
“There should be no killing of any Ugandan for any reason apart from if you are condemned by the court of law to be hanged.”
Mr. President revealed that keeping people in jail for a long period without trial is not allowed.
“Jails are not stores for people.”
He also revealed that deporting foreigners without trial is wrong.
“Deportation must be handled legally. These loopholes can be a disadvantage to our country.”
“When we had riots in November, some of the people killed were rioters, but there was also an issue of stray bullets.”
“Police produced a report, and after scrutiny, it will be made available to the public,” he said.
Museveni warned security personnel of beating Ugandans, saying that traditionally, beating thieves is allowed, “however, we are not a traditional army here. The army is a revolutionary army. It would help if you used revolutionary beliefs, not ancient traditional beliefs.”