Denis Mugonza Waggumbulizi: Museveni, would you still ask why you lost in Buganda?

Nowadays, NRM is traversing parts of Buganda and Busoga regions claiming to be inquiring from their supporters why NRM lost key positions in the 2021 General Elections. #WhisperEyeNews

NRM is also all over the country endorsing the candidature of Gen. Museveni for Presidency come 2026, which by the way is illegal as per the Electoral Commission Act, Cap 140 2. Do not waste your time, energy, and finance.

Your research desk should earlier on have told you that the persistent human rights violations, illegal land evictions, land grabbing, impunity, oppression, inequalities, and senseless murders to mention but a few are making NRM lose the base in Buganda and if the regime does not curb this, NRM should wait for the worst in the next general elections.

Opposition party leaders and their supporters have been arrested and tortured since the resumption of multiparty elections in Uganda. To note, however, none and I repeat none of the arrested leaders and members charged with political offenses has been successfully prosecuted and convicted on any of the offenses.

Quite often they are simply released or charges are simply dropped and they are released. Doesn’t this suggest this is a case of political persecution and witch-hunting intended to embarrass, humiliate and inconvenience these Opposition leaders and members?

Is this political persecution allowed in a constitutional democracy? It is now a year and a few months since, Hon. Muhammad Ssegirinya and Hon. Allan Ssewanyana were remanded to Luzira prison on charges of terrorism and murder.

Their families, relatives, friends, and party supporters allege that these are trumped-up charges intended to persecute their leaders because of their political beliefs. Initially, the two Legislators were granted cash bail of UGX 20M each. However, although they paid the money, the MPs have never regained their freedom.

The last time I heard the President talk to judicial officers was when he urged the Judiciary not to grant bail to people suspected to have committed criminal cases like those alleged to have been committed by Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana.

This was unfortunate in Uganda that Museveni calls a constitutional democracy. I pity the judiciary in Uganda, but I call for its independence in doing its duties without inferences from politicians, the rich, and Government officials.

The public’s hope should always be in the judiciary other than individuals because it is where justice should be sought from.  In other words, the judiciary should be the temple of justice, not an avenue of inequity and suffering.

The 2021 General Election was characterized by all sorts of human rights violations against Opposition political opponents. The NUP Presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi, and his followers were victims of arbitrary arrests, kidnaps, torture, and illegal detentions at the hands of security operatives.

I had thought that this had ended in campaigns, but it’s sad that the same crimes are going on in the country and the Government seems not to bother. During election campaigns, many people lost their lives! Others were kidnapped and are nowhere to be found.

Several people were brutally arrested and are still nursing wounds. Others are still rotting in jail for their political beliefs. However, those who were released from detentions do not have any hope of either physically walking again normally or doing any serious work aimed at improving their lives.

These young men and women were the breadwinners of their families. You can now imagine what their families are going through. Do you expect them to support NRM? It is not bad to arrest suspected criminals, but this should not be discriminative or politicized.

Recently, the victims of arbitrary arrests and torture in Uganda may have wondered and shaded tears upon hearing that the AG Kiryowa Kiwanuka while at the UN meeting defended Uganda’s human rights record claiming that Government does not condone torture and that it does not illegally detain or even kill political critics and does not run safe houses.

This was very unfortunate for the Attorney General to make especially since the same human rights violations in Uganda are still ongoing! Every day when you wake up in the morning, what you find in the media is news announcing the kidnaps of either an individual or a group by men relatedly to be security operatives, and when you try to gather information as to why they were kidnapped, all that you get is that it is because of political persecution.

All this is happening in Buganda majorly. By the way, this is against what took NRA to the bush and the fundamental change that Museveni promised the first time he was sworn in as President of Uganda. It hurts at the thought of it to hear that some Ugandans have had to escape from the country and sought asylum in other countries because of what they call torture and political persecution in Uganda.

Some Government officials and security agencies continue to grab people’s land especially since land in Buganda has more value compared to other parts of the country. They use the money and power of the gun to oppress and torment the people. Several people especially the poor have been illegally evicted or forced out of their land yet without justice. Many have died fighting for their land and others have been left homeless. Others are in jail for crimes they really do not know about.

A note has to be taken that the people in Buganda including the Kabaka played a vital role to help Museveni and NRA to capture power during the 1981-1986 Luweero Bush War. No doubt the people in Buganda supported the NRA because of its objective to fight against human rights violations and generally poor governance by then.

However, the prevailing inhuman treatment or torture that the people in Buganda continue to experience is something that the people have found as of no difference compared to the past regimes which the current regime fought against. What is happening today is regrettable by some people who brought NRA into power.

Museveni and NRA shall be reminisced for preaching against sham elections, arbitrary arrests, torture, and sectarianism which were being practiced by the past regimes, especially of Obote and Amin. This is actually what Museveni claims to have prompted him to go into the bush and fight for rule of law. However, the people say that they were hoodwinked because they continue to experience what exactly Obote and Amin committed.

Government should not take Ugandans for granted. It should respect humanity. Why should a leader be in support of human rights violations as if is not human or national? In fact, it beats my understanding for one to continue carrying out arbitrary arrests and torture the people who then she or he would still go back to and ask for support!

Government should start respecting article 24 of our Constitution and Articles 3 and 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, lest the persistent human rights violations which we continue to experience in Uganda committed by mostly the people in power against political opponents, political critics, and the poor shall still lead to the loss of NRM in Buganda and Uganda at large.

Everyone should be entitled to their own opinion and political beliefs so long as they do not abuse the law. Avoid making Ugandans regret why they voted you in power just because of your poor governance and selfish interests. Government security agencies are meant to keep law and order, but not be used to abuse the law.   

Please NRM Government, work to serve Ugandans regardless of their political, religious, or cultural beliefs because these are Ugandans who pay taxes and are entitled to better service delivery or good governance.

Do not divide and rule. Fulfill your constitutional mandate then you will win people’s support, but if you resorted to violating human rights and corruption, the public shall punish you for your mistakes. However, if you feel you cannot be their servant or you have failed to deliver as expected, resign and let others try their luck. In a constitutional democracy, leaders come and go.

They do not cling to power, arrest, or torture the people who entrusted them with authority because they have been challenged. Leaders serve, admit mistakes, and change. Don’t pretend it is a harsh rule that made NRM lose key positions in Buganda and Busoga regions. Uganda deserves civilian rule and good governance.

By Denis Mugonza Waggumbulizi | Advocate, Researcher & Entrepreneur

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