Uganda has strongly objected to what it described as “tacit approval of undisciplined behaviour” of opposition elements by the European Union (EU) and insisted it will not take lectures from western countries on management of its domestic affairs.
In a strong-worded statement, the Ugandan Government on Sunday morning said if the opposition were not assured of “foreign support”, they would focus more on preparing convincing programmes to win electable positions.
This followed a resolution of the European Union Parliament which threatened possible sanctions and aid suspension to Uganda following the arrest of opposition lawmakers in the Arua by-election violence.
The legislative body on Friday 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 further condemned the alleged torture of the MPs whom Uganda accuses of treason and inciting violence.
“Uganda takes objection to the tacit approval of undisciplined behaviour by EU and some of its institutions of some of the politicians in the country,” government said in a statement.
“We also object to the condescending tone contained in the language of this resolution. The matters referred to in this resolution such as the threat to the security of the President while in Arua on August 15, the 33 people arrested in connection with this incident including the MPs and the regrettable loss of life of some of the people, are all under investigation by credible and competent arms of the state and overseen by an independent judicial system in Uganda.”
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.
But Kampala is disturbed that western groups continue to meddle in Uganda’s internal affairs.
Jacqueline Wolfson, a philanthropist, was recently kicked out of Uganda for reportedly providing logistical and technical support to opposition figures seeking to oust president Museveni from power.
“Could the EU parliament and those who actively promote impunity in other people’s nations have some humility in this area especially given the fact that matters under investigation are subjudice?” government said.
Officials said the resolution was possibly passed at the instigation of several NGOs operating in Europe and funding some of their entities in the country.
Government also believes the traditional lobbyists opposed to Uganda’s choice of values against the sexual orientation taken by some groups in the West along with some new lawyers recruited recently in London and Washington DC, is partly the source of this resolution.
“Both the nature of the final resolution and the debate that ensued by the MPs on the floor of their parliament, showed all signs of active coaching including prepared texts for each MP to read,” Uganda observed.
Government said it a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human rights and passed a specific law to define and prevent torture in any form and remained aware aware of the past history of violence orchestrated by past governments that left hundreds of thousands dead.
“In fact, this government is the one that ended chronic instability in Uganda and parts of the African region, restored the rule of law and put the country on the wheels of progress. The people of Uganda and their government, therefore, would do well with respectful partnerships to promote the work done for very many years than the current sanctimonious lectures on rights most of which had been trampled upon even when the current pretenders at their defense were either looking on sheepishly or they were active participants in their violation. This is especially so given their greedy search for African resources for well over 100 years.”
Officials said there have been 35 by–elections across the Uganda since the beginning of 2017 witnessed by the Media, local and foreign observers.
“In only five of these where the opposition has won, there is a marked pattern of pre–planned and well executed violence, quite often with active financial and technical support from foreign groups operating in Uganda under the very freedom of expression and association guaranteed by our constitution. The question is: Why does violence not occur in other parts of the country? Why have the massive just concluded local government council one elections in the country not had any incident of violence? The answer is: where the opposition feels they have no support, they aggressively stock violence, intimidate voters to not turn up to vote and they cause violence so it can be blamed on authorities,” reads the statement.
“The backers of this misguided wing of the opposition would do well to convince them to use democratic means to secure victory because Ugandan state institutions will not tolerate violence of any form and manner. In fact, if some elements of this opposition were not emboldened by this external financial, political and technical meddling, they would apply saner means to convince their electorate.”
The EU Parliament 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.”
The Ugandan state and government today said they exercised maximum restraint under intense provocation on so many occasions in the hope that the leaders of these groups would reform.
“Uganda will continue to protect the right of the majority to exercise their freedoms as well as the minority that want to express their views in a civil manner against this radical and extreme element that derives its legitimacy from foreign backers,” the statement emphasised.
Finally, government said, “Uganda would like to assume that the EU parliamentarians either acted out of their naturally limited knowledge of the country and, therefore, picked rumours and unverified conversations on social media or the Honorable EU MPs are removing any veil of pretense about where they stand when it comes to judging the various players in the Ugandan political space.”
The statement added: “To formally and unashamedly warn the Ugandan people and their government that budget support funds given to the country for development should be used as leverage to monitor whether “opposition MPs are being hindered”, is to clearly reduce the relationship with Uganda that has held strong over in security, trade and cultural exchange to simply, MONEY.”
“Could we ask humbly as a nation that the EU MPs would do better to kindly reserve the role of an umpire of our politics and social change for the people of Uganda and their institutions? Uganda saw its darkest period in the 1970/1980s. It was restored by the people of Uganda and only they can and will determine their destiny and the future of their country.”