…. of political opposition leaders and activists . -2012 brings a lot of uncertainty in Uganda as the year is already mirrored by violent, unjustified brutal arrests of opposition leaders and Activists for Change(A4C) who have taken action to draw attention to the unbearable rising cost of living, aggravated by rampant corruption, high inflation rates and bad governance by the NRM Government and its leadership.
This year so far the country has been hit by a massive traders strike which cost the country an estimated Ushs40b ($16m), immediately followed by a vigorous re-launch of the peaceful walk to work protests led by opposition leaders and political activists where many Ugandans were unlawfully arrested, manhandled and detained without charge.
These recent events are simply part of the systematic and continuous process of legal restraints on civil liberties, clampdown on political protests and dissent which the movement government has been using to gain unfair political advantage to consolidate power following multiple sham elections.
Given that the Ugandan constitution provides for the rights to: freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom to demonstrate peacefully under article (Article 29. 1d), recent events and actions by the NRM government suggest a contradiction given the brutal police arrests, tear gassing of opposition leaders/ activists, oppression of peaceful rallies by the NRM government which amounts to political persecution contradicting article 43(2a).
We therefore demand the following
- An immediate release of detained opposition activists
- A set up of an independent commission of enquiry to investigate the root causes of public grievances that have resulted in demonstrations.
- The withdrawal of the “shoot to kill” statement made by Mr Museveni reported by(The New Vision 2012)
- An immediate stop to the illegal, unnecessary deployment of armed personnel, the interruptions of peaceful public rallies in and around Kampala and the rest of the country.
- Immediate government investigation and prosecution of the accused corrupt officials like the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi inter alia.
- Denouncement of the suppressive Public Order Management Bill and demand its withdrawal given that it is an illegal instrument being used to suffocate the rights of Ugandans (Muwanga Kivumbi vs Attorney general).
The demands here forthwith are necessary for the entrenchment of democratic values to exercise their freedom and human rights. Failure to address these genuine concerns raised will amount to further grievances which could push Ugandans to seek alternative ways of expressing themselves.
As such, we demand that the Government observes its obligation to respect and protect the right of peaceful assembly ICCPR enshrined in (Article 21).
Belinda Atim (Human Rights Activist)
Charles Mugagga (Secretary)
Richard Semitego (Pro-Democracy Activist)