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EU, U.S. to Gov’t: Arua Human Rights Violations ‘Disquieting’

The European Union Heads of Mission and United States have expressed concern about this week’s political violence in the Arua Municipality by-election that left in a trail of bloodshed and destruction.

“The Heads of Mission are deeply concerned by the events that occurred before and after the Arua Municipality by election,” said the European government representatives in Uganda.

On Monday, 13 August 2018, Arua Municipality MP elect Kassiano Wadri, Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Ind., Kyaddondo East County), Hon. Francis Zaake (Ind., Mityana Municipality), Hon. Paul Mwiru (FDC, Jinja East Municipality), Hon. Gerald Karuhanga (Ind., Ntungamo Municipality), former MP Michael Mabikke and several others were arrested over what Internal Affairs Minister. Hon. Jeje Odongo in a report to Parliament termed as, “…obstruction and violent attack on the presidential motorcade at Prison cell, Arua Municipality.”

Kyagulanyi has since been charged with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition while MPs faced charges of treason.

EU governments described the arrest and alleged torture of MPs and journalists as “disquieting” and express concern that local observers were not accredited to witness the elections in Arua Municipality.

“The violence marring the day before the polls, the lack of accredited domestic observers, the reported brutal treatment of elected members of the Uganda Parliament, journalists and civilians as well the loss of human life are very disquieting events,” the statement issued on Friday reads in part.

The EU pointed out that, “There is no room for repression nor violence in the modern democratic Uganda.”

The Defence spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire said the state of the MPs needs to be ascertained by “competent physicians” but “could be as a result of the scuffles that ensued in those illegal processions.”

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Karemire said, “Once you light a fire, you can never be too sure of how it will all end. Let our Honorable leaders exercise political discipline instead of some of them maligning Security Forces.”

Nevertheless, the Heads of Missions called upon all tiers of the Ugandan government, political parties and civil society to cooperate to ensure that the events that have caused “much suffering” and have “damaged the global image of Uganda” are addressed “swiftly and transparently with full respect for the rule of law and of the individual rights of all concerned.”

Separately, the U.S. Mission in Uganda said it was “deeply concerned” by recent events in Arua, Kampala, and Gulu, and “disturbed” by reports of brutal treatment of Members of Parliament, journalists, and others at the hands of security forces.

In a brief statement, the American government said, “All of those detained have the right to humane treatment, due process, access to lawyers and to their families, and a prompt, fair, and transparent trial,” adding, “Those who need medical attention should be granted immediate access to a doctor of their choice.”

Karemire said UPDF would ensure Bobi Wine who is detained at Makindye Barracks “receives adequate attention and care”.

He further said the musician-turned-politician would be allowed to see his dear ones.

“His family also will be able to visit him as per established procedure,” said Karemire.

The U.S. Mission challenged the Uganda Government to “show the world that Uganda respects its constitution and the human rights of all of its citizens.”

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