Kyagulanyi Protests: EU Calls for Independent Investigation into Killings

The European diplomatic missions that have this afternoon endorsed the statement issued on the election-related violence in the country are that of Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland and Norway.
The European Union Ambassador Attilio Pacifici.

The European Union (EU) Delegation to Uganda  has asked the government and all its institutions to ensure safety, security and dignified treatment of all citizens, including electoral candidates and their supporters during the ongoing electoral campaigns.

The European diplomatic missions that have this afternoon endorsed the statement issued on the election-related violence in the country are that of Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland and Norway.  

“The deaths of dozens of people amidst widespread violence marred the electoral campaign on 18th and 19th of November. We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims, who reportedly include innocent bystanders,” reads part of the statement.

The Diplomats now say that all candidates and their supporters should be treated in a dignified manner in line with the national laws and Uganda’s international human rights commitments.

“As we move forward in the electoral process, we urge all political parties and electoral candidates to call upon their supporters to refrain from violence and inflammatory language, and to take firm action to end any provocation or incitement to violence or any unlawful action," further reads the statement. "All political parties, candidates and their supporters should ensure the full implementation of the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures and the relevant regulations designed to curb the spread of the virus.” 

The EU now says that a full and independent investigation should be launched into the events of 18th and 19th of November, to ensure justice for victims and to avoid impunity for the perpetrators who must be held accountable for their actions.

At least 50 people are reported to have been killed and others hospitalized with bullet wounds in the protests across the country that were sparked off by the arrest and subsequent detention of National Unity Platform’s (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu at Nalufenya police station in Jinja City. Kyagulanyi was arrested for flouting COVID-19 guidelines which require only 200 people at a campaign venue. He has since been released and resumed his campaign.

In Kampala, the rioters lit tyres in the middle of roads around Kisekka Market, Nabugabo Lane, Nasser Road, Nkrumah, City Square, Bombo Road and Kampala Road. There were also protests in Jinja, Busia, Luweero, Mukono and Masaka.

The protests prompted the regular police backed by anti-riot police, Military and Local Defence Units- LDUs as well as plain clothed security operatives to fire teargas and live bullets to disperse the protesters leaving some people shot.

The EU statement comes a few days after the Minister of Security, Gen Elly Tumwine said that the police and other security personnel have a right to kill protesters if they are attacked. Speaking to reporters at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, Gen Tumwine said that he had no apologies for anybody who was killed while attacking security forces as they tried to put down protests that broke out on Wednesday and Thursday last week. However while appearing on the government television on Wednesday night, Tumwine said that the deaths are regrettable, and blamed them on the opposition whose protests he says elicited the "defensive" response from the armed forces.

Tumwine said that government will not look on as political actors supported by unnamed foreign forces are disrupting the peace. He said that although they commiserate with families that lost loved ones in the two days of running battles between the security forces and supporters of National Unity Platform, Robert Kyagulanyi, violence normally leads to deaths and destruction.

But Ester Mbayo, the Minister-in-charge of the Presidency has since revealed that the government is investigating the conduct of some security personnel saying that such security personnel could be harbouring ill intentions against the government.

Mbayo who on Wednesday opened up a two-day retreat for Resident District Commissioners -RDCs, Internal District Security Officer-DISOs and ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party district Chairpersons from greater Masaka sub-region, at Hotel Brovad in Masaka town revealed that intelligence reports are pointing to elements of sabotage, intrigue and malice against the government within the security circles. According to Mbayo, some security personnel were exposed during last week’s protests.

Mbayo who is also the Woman Member of Parliament for Luuka district alleges that some security officers in different parts of the country deliberately looked on as the rioters went on a rampage which raises suspicion about their commitment to serve and secure the government and safety of the people. 

She also took a swipe against the international community who she says is on a fault-finding mission against the government. She asked the district security teams to stand up and defend the integrity of the NRM government against any forces that sabotage or blackmail the government.  

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