The European Union Parliament has urged Ugandan security forces to exercise restraint in managing protests and also opposition activists to refrain from engaging in unlawful activities, Chimp Corps report.
The Parliamentary body of one of Uganda’s largest sources of development support, held a debate before making resolutions on the arrest of lawmakers in the Arua Municipality by-election violence in which one person died and others sustained serious injuries.
Several lawmakers were arrested on a range of charges including treason and inciting violence.
The legislative body stressed that it was “vital for Ugandan democracy that the President and Government of Uganda respect the independence of the country’s Parliament as an institution and the independence of the mandate of its members and ensure that all members of parliament can freely pursue their elected mandates.”
It also called on the Ugandan authorities to “drop what appear to be trumped-up charges against Bobi Wine and to stop the crackdown against opposition politicians and supporters.”
However, the Parliament also emphasised at the “same time to protesters to act in a law-abiding way and to exercise their rights and freedoms within the law.”
President Museveni accused the protesters of burning tyres in the middle of the roads and destroying property in riots.
He said foreigners continue to funnel money through NGOs to destabilize the country.
EU remains a strong development partner of Uganda and has raised millions of dollars in aid for the East African country.
The EU market is ranked the second highest destination for Uganda’s products, although the share in total export earnings has been reducing to 18.92%, $ 506.94m in 2016/17, according to the trade ministry.
The European Parliament urged the Ugandan authorities to immediately launch an “effective, impartial and independent investigation into the killing of Yasin Kawuma and the reports of deaths and excessive use of force during the protests.”
It also expects a “swift” and “independent investigation” into the allegations of torture and mistreatment of those arrested in Arua and stressed the need to bring those responsible to justice.
Government has since denied accusations of torture, saying MPs claiming to have been beaten by security forces could have told lies.
The EU parliament also noted with concern that journalists covering the demonstrations and the riots that broke out have been beaten along with participants, and that two journalists were arrested; calling on the Ugandan authorities to create an environment where journalists can carry out without hindrance their work of informing about political developments in the country.
The Parliament further called on the EU to “take advantage of the political leverage provided by development aid programmes, especially budget support programmes, with a view to enhancing the defence and promotion of human rights in Uganda.”
It remains unclear if EU would slash aid in the wake of recent political developments in the country.
In Uganda, the situation has normalised with business picking up and tourists flocking into the country.
The recently-concluded Nyege Nyege Festival attracted more than 2500 tourists for a four-day carnival.