The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) has come out to condemn the deadly acts of violence which rocked the country yesterday following the arrest of the National Unity Platform (NUP) Presidential candidate Bobi Wine.
The Council, which brings together the heads of all religious denominations in the country, told press on Thursday afternoon that yesterday’s events “threatened to undermine the integrity and fairness of our elections.”
Bobi Wine was arrested yesterday in Luuka for breaching election guidelines which prohibit mass campaign gatherings.
He remained in detention by publication of this story, at the Jinja based Nalufenya Police detention facility.
His arrest quickly sparked violent riots in different parts of the country in which a number of people lost lives.
Speaking at their offices in Kampala, the IRCU Chairman Sheikh Shaban Mubajje appealed to government to immediately release Mr Bobi Wine and all the people that were arrested in yesterday’s incidents.
“While we imagine the dilemma faced by the security agencies, we call for actions that honour the rights and dignity of all Ugandans irrespective of their political affiliations,” Mubajje said in the statement.
The IRCU statement came hours after the leadership of the National Unity Platform complained over the silence of religious leaders in the country on the matter.
The party spokesman Joel Senyonyi said last night that by not speaking out, the spiritual leaders were letting down their own followers and countrymen.
However, the church leaders in an uncharacteristic lurid tone today, came out to condemn the actions of some elements with the security forces whom they said acted in disregard of fundamental human rights of Ugandans
“The army has breached Article 209 which states that the army will cooperate with civilian authority in emergency situations and in cases of natural disaster like COVID-19.” The council said in the statement.
“We also noted with concern that the police were in breach of the COVID-19 SOPs and of Article 21(3) that stipulates that the police shall be patriotic, professional, disciplined, competent and productive.”
“It is incumbent upon us to express our concern in the political injustices in the country and to provide guidance especially in such critical period in our country”
The UPDF spokesperson Brig Flavia Byekwaso earlier today told ChimpReports that the army acted within its restrictions to intervene and avert the danger that was posed by rioters.
Byekwaso also said that the officers who were seen shooting live bullets were acting in self-defence, but also promised that those that acted wantonly would be investigated and prosecuted.
The religious leaders concluded by urging “all men and women in uniform to uphold the Ugandan constitution and all relevant laws and ought to treat all citizens of Uganda fairly and equally irrespective of their political affiliation.”