Rights abuses. The former FDC presidential candidate now considers seeking international remedies to human rights violations in Uganda.
By Stephen Otage
Kampala. The Opposition is considering involving the international legal mechanisms to stop what they describe as repression and human rights violations by government.
Former Forum for Democratic change (FDC) presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye told the media at his Kasangati home, outside Kampala following his arrest and what he described as torture on Tuesday, that the state agents were operating with impunity which must be stopped.
“This criminality, we are definitely going to continue to challenge it in all ways. We intend to engage the local remedies here not so that they can save us from it because we know they won’t but we want to start a process now seeking international remedies,” Dr Besigye said.
Dr Besigye, who narrated their journey to and from Kabale District, explained that Police was acting with impunity by brutally arresting them, destroying their vehicles, disrupting their business and taking them against their will. He said such violations will be presented to the local institutions not with the hope of them acting but to register their failure to do so.
In order to seek international help, Dr Besigye said they will have to show that the local remedies have been fully exhausted. For example, Dr Besigye said he had written to the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) when Police incarcerated him in his home but nothing has been done. The UHRC is constitutionally charged with overseeing and protecting human rights in the country.
However, Dr Besigye continued with the message he used throughout the presidential campaigns of rallying Ugandans to what he calls liberating themselves, arguing that they (Ugandans) are the final authority.
“Over and beyond that we know that we have a rogue regime in Uganda which has no legitimacy and that the way to get rid of it is not going to happen through whether international appeal or what appeal. It is going to happen by our own actions, the actions of Ugandans. They are the actions of the citizens that will end this.”
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who was arrested together with Dr Besigye in Kabale, said the crimes committed against them tantamount to those against humanity.
“We have made that resolve to deal with this impunity; it is now going beyond condemnation; it is time for action against impunity, otherwise we shall find ourselves in a situation which will be dire and we might not extricate ourselves from as a nation,” Mr Lukwago said.
However, Col (rtd) Shaban Bantariza, the deputy executive director of the Uganda Media Centre, laughed off such attempts by the Opposition.
“They (Opposition) are lying, the international community they are talking about has no structures. They are brewing a storm in a tea cup but even if they wanted to go there, they would have to go through the United Nations Security Council which deals with governments. As long as they have plans to cause an insurrection, they have to be prepared for those inconveniences,” Col Bantariza said.
By Stephen Otage
Daily Monitor (Uganda)