What you need to know:
- Ms Barbra Akech, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Dokolo, spent half of her time explaining the use of the national army during elections as leaders from Lango Sub-region condemned the government for engaging in human rights violations with impunity.
- Amnesty International said security forces used intimidatory tactics to suppress political opposition members and supporters in the context of the January 2021 elections, including arbitrary arrests, abductions, prolonged incommunicado detention, enforced disappearances and prosecutions, among others.
Former minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr Daniel Omara Atubo, has vowed to oppose President Yoweri Museveni until death for allegedly disappointing him.
Mr Omara Atubo, who is a lawyer, educator and politician, served as Minister of Lands from May 2006 until May 27, 2011 when he was dropped in a cabinet reshuffle.
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“Museveni has turned out to be the greatest enemy and abuser of human rights. Even the Opposition is saying remove Museveni first and after that things may improve because as long as Museveni is there, people who have jobs and businesses will always fight for Museveni to be there so that they protect their jobs and money,” Mr Atubo, the former Members of Parliament for Otuke County, said.
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He made the remarks at a regional agency civic learning fellowship organised by Lango Civil Society Network (LACSON) formerly Lira NGO Forum in partnership with Uganda National NGO Forum at Margaritha Palace Hotel, Lira City, on Thursday.
“We made a very good 1995 Constitution because we knew that one of the problems of Uganda has been transition. If you cannot transit through free and fair elections at least you have two brakes – two-term limit and age limit. Somebody will be caught there so that you hand over power. What did Museveni do? Removed the age limit by bribing and intimidating Members of Parliament, and they removed the term limit,” Mr Atubo said.
He acknowledged that in 2011 he was one of those who campaigned for Mr Museveni.
“I said let us give Museveni the last vote because in 2016 he will not contest because he will be over 75 years. Let us vote for him, let us thank him. As soon as Museveni won that election, if he won, what did he do within one year? Removed the age limit! This is why I will not support him and I will oppose him until I die,” Mr Atubo added.
“The greatest enemy in this country to democracy and human rights are the presidents and the government in power. So, until we can control our presidents and the government in power by whatever means possible, we are not going to have democracy because of human greed.”
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During the same event, Ms Barbra Akech, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Dokolo, spent half of her time explaining the use of the national army during elections as leaders from Lango Sub-region condemned the government for engaging in human rights violations with impunity.
The RDC was also tasked to explain why most RDCs campaign for the National Resistance Movement (NRM) presidential candidate during the elections yet they are supposed to be nonpartisan.
“I have a party where I belong and I will not fear to say something in favour of my party,” she said before taking a swipe at Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC).
Ms Akech said the human rights body has for long been “pampering” the Opposition and taking side with them.
“When a policeman is being beaten and tortured, or civilians are throwing stones at them, they don’t talk about it, but when an opposition is being manhandled, you will see how they will come to you,” the RDC said.
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Ms Immaculate Akullu, UHRC legal officer, dismissed the allegations as unfounded, further clarifying that the commission works for all Ugandans.
Mr Ismael Pinto, the Lira RDC, said the NRM government has done a lot for Ugandans, adding that Uganda is a democratic state.
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“I thank Omara Atubo for stating the facts as they are to himself. He is going to walk safely and reach home but says there is no peace!” he said.
Amnesty International said security forces used intimidatory tactics to suppress political opposition members and supporters in the context of the January 2021 elections, including arbitrary arrests, abductions, prolonged incommunicado detention, enforced disappearances and prosecutions, among others.
“In 2020, dozens of people were killed in the context of electoral campaigning ahead of the January 2021 general election, most of them by police and other security forces,” the organisation said.
Mr Atubo further noted that the solution to Uganda’s problems is democracy. He defined democracy as “power with the people, we must accept the rules of the game, rule by the constitution; governments come, governments go, presidents come, presidents go, have free, fair and transparent elections.”
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He said the army should never be involved in partisan politics. The army should sleep outside the State House and they should protect the civilian president who is inside the State House.
Mr Moses Mulindwa, the programme associate at Uganda National NGO Forum, said: “What we are doing is to provide a platform to ensure that key stakeholders have conversation and talk to each other. And we request that let’s respect each other in this engagement but we should be able to debate and let’s debate with facts.”