An open letter to the chairperson Uganda Human Rights Commission

Author, Francis Mwijukye. PHOTO/FILE/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • I wonder why you don’t see the brutal arrests that have been happening, the kidnapping of Ugandans by drones, the detentions without trial or denial of bail for MPs Muhammed Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) and Allan Sewanyana (Makindye West) and above their incarceration without trial , to mention but a few!

Dear Madam Mariam Wangadya, receive my warm greetings. I saw a statement you signed in which the Uganda Human Rights Commission was condemning the violence that ensued at the burial of late Jakana Naduli last week.
 
Allow me to thank you for being concerned by the state of human rights since every Ugandan should enjoy his rights freely!
Whereas those violent incidents were not good, a person of your caliber and moreover holding such an office wouldn’t have rushed to make such a statement without finding out the root cause. Whereas mob action is bad, have you bothered to find out the cause of such deep-rooted anger? By not looking at the cause and instead focusing on the symptom, you centralised a marginal issue and marginalised a central issue!
You acted like a tourist who had just visited Uganda, a reason you chose to condemn victims of human rights violations instead of perpetrators!

For starters, Jakana was a prisoner on bail over political related charges, a bail that he got after weeks of being held incommunicado in an unknown place under immense torture by security. That’s why his sudden death has caused uproar in the country with some Ugandans attempting to connect the death with the torture. This needs a human Rights Commission of Inquiry!
Madam, in your statement you claimed that the Commission has been monitoring the human rights situation in the country, and to our surprise it’s only the scuffle at the said burial in which an NRM supporter was a victim that captured your attention. I wonder why you don’t see the brutal arrests that have been happening, the kidnapping of Ugandans by drones, the detentions without trial or denial of bail for MPs Muhammed Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) and Allan Sewanyana (Makindye West) and above their incarceration without trial , to mention but a few! Are you being genuine or are you proving that you are rather a partisan public officer?

When you were asked about your take on Rukirabashaija Kakwenza and Samuel Masereka’s torture, during your interface with the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, you said you didn’t know anything since the duo had not reported to the Commission, as if that time you were not monitoring the state of human rights in the country! So, could you tell us in this particular incident who complained to you? Or are you playing double standards?

As a Commission, has it concerned you that today Opposition political parties can’t organise any political gathering? Or do you think political mobilisation is a preserve of the  NRM? Did you make any statement on the violence that manifested in the recent by-elections in Soroti, Kasese and other areas?
Had the Commission been doing its work as mandated by the Constitution, Jakana Naduli wouldn’t be brutally arrested, held incommunicado and tortured as the case is in Uganda. More so residents who fought at the burial wouldn’t have had that anger! This anger is a result of inability to watch over human rights abuses.

As a human rights activist who has even been arrested more than 60 times in a space of 12 months, who has been charged with many trumped up charges, including treason, and which cases were all dismissed, as a member of the Human Rights Committee of Parliament, and a human rights activist, I felt offended by your statement.

 Francis Mwijukye is the MP,  Buhweju County, a human rights activist  and a member of the Human Rights Committee of Parliament.

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