FDC Katonga to petition global courts over alleged govt rights abuses

The president of the FDC Katonga faction, Mr Erias Lukwago (right), and secretary general Harold Kaija address journalists in Kampala on October 30, 2023. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

The interim president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party based at Katonga Road, Mr Erias Lukwago, has revealed that his party is engaging with other political actors to jointly drag the government to international courts of law over alleged gross human rights violations.

Mr Lukwago yesterday told journalists at their party offices on Katonga Road in Kampala that they are considering petitioning different bodies, including the African Court of Peoples’ and Human Rights (ACPHR), the African Commission on Peoples’ and Human Rights (ACPHR), the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We are discussing with other political players to deal with this issue as a team, [because human] rights have no colour, political boundary and ethical background; they are rather universal. We are working with colleagues to see how we shall build synergies and see how we can do it in time,” he said.

His revelation comes at a time when the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has closed 18 case files of members of the National Unity Platform (NUP) who were allegedly kidnapped by State actors on account of lack of sufficient evidence to proceed with the investigations.

In response, Opposition Members of Parliament led by their leader, Mr Mathias Mpuuga, have snubbed House sessions, accusing the government of failing to explain the whereabouts of missing NUP members. About a fortnight ago, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja clashed with Mr Mpuuga over the same issue.
Yesterday, Mr Lukwago said it is on such a basis that Opposition players in the country must unite.

“I commend the Opposition MPs on this move and request them not to back down because we have joined you and this time let it be serious business. We are sitting on a time bomb, cases involving high handedness of the State and at the watch of the so called UHRC,” he said.

“Of recent, Ms Mariam Wangadya [UHRC boss] attacked us that we are politicising human rights yet she is the one doing it. We [ask] her to humbly resign and join elective politics,” he added.

Recently, NUP dragged several government officials, including the President, his son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba and Speaker of Parliament Anita Among to the ICC, accusing them of gross human rights violations. Mr Lukwago said the ICC has not acted in a timely manner, “and that is why we want to explore all avenues within our reach in the region, continent and international level.”

“The ICC is reluctant to take action, [because] these people (government) went to the extent of frustrating our case there, by appealing to the West using their role in Somalia but we took their overwhelming evidence,” he said.
According to Mr Lukwago, the decision is also based on what he said is an ineffective judicial system in the country.

“I have never seen any of these security top officials such as the ministers for Security, Defense or the IGP [Inspector General of Police] being summoned by court to answer charges on human rights yet the court has that power, they chose to practice restraint law instead of activism law,” he said.