Push government on rights, 4GC tells foreign community
Posted Thursday, January 24 2013 at 09:16
Governance. International actors like the US government are accused of assisting the military and security forces which trample on the rights of Ugandans, undermining democracy.
Pressure group For God and My Country (4GC) has urged the international community to push government to respect citizens’ right to assemble and express their views on governance of the country uninhibited.
Dr Kizza Besigye, a senior member of the group, told a press conference in Kampala yesterday that Uganda needs the support of international actors to manage what he called a “post-Museveni era.”
“Even if they (development partners) give all the money to this government, it will still collapse because currently there is no cohesive regime. This is not something to celebrate because our country may degenerate into a failed state once the mafia collapses,” Dr Besigye said.
An intelligence assessment report of global trends by the US-based National Intelligence Council released last year projects that Uganda is at a high risk of becoming a failed state by 2030.
Dr Besigye, who has just returned from a holiday with his family in the US, added: “He (President Museveni) may still be hanging in there saying the army can overthrow … but he is looking for ways to manipulate and overthrow himself before he is overthrown.”
He said he was persuading members of 4GC to demonstrate against the US government for its “continued assistance to the military and security forces which trample on the rights of Ugandans.”
The US is a long-term ally of Uganda’s army and is currently providing support in efforts to neutralise Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in the DR Congo and Central African Republic.
More than 100 American military personnel are helping the UPDF in tracking down the rebels.
American financial and other support also continues to be extended to Ugandan troops, who are fighting Islamic extremists in Somalia under the African Union flag.
During his time as leader of opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change, Dr Besigye and other leaders frequently came under vicious and direct attacks from the police and other security forces whenever they attempted to hold a political rally.
Opposition leaders are also finding it increasingly difficult to be hosted on radio talk shows.
Dr Besigye warned that “President Obama must wake up in his second term if he wants to have a legacy in Uganda.”
In his first inaugural speech in 2009, US President Barack Obama promised to “extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist”, a comment widely interpreted to be directed at leaders who cling onto power through authoritarianism.
Mr Daniel Travis, the public affairs officer at the US Mission in Kampala, said Washington strongly supports free speech and unrestricted political expression “[but] it is inappropriate to draw [us] into partisan political debates.”