Diplomacy | Ambassador Mull S. Katende’s Response to US Congress Regarding MP Kyagulanyi’s Arrest in Arua

Posted October 17, 2018 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Diplomacy ~ 5,236 views


October 10th, 2018

Senator Chris Coons (D-Del);Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz);Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md);Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla); Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ); Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA); Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA);

Congress of the United States,
Capitol Hill,

Dear Members of Congress,

I received a letter dated August 23rd, 2018 signed by Congressman Brad Sherman titled “False Imprisonment and Torture of Robert Kyagulanyi” and a letter dated September 21st, 2018 jointly signed by Congressman Brad Sherman and Congresswoman Karen Bass titled “Arrest and Torture of Robert Kyagulanyi”. I also received copy of the statement jointly release on September 18th, 2018 by Senator Chris Coons, Senator Jeff Flake, Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Marco Rubio, and Senator Cory Booker on the current situation in Uganda.

First of all, I thank you for the letters and statement and wish to assure you that I have shared them with my headquarters in Kampala.

The letters and statement are by large related in both intent and substance. That is why we have found it necessary to present to you, jointly, this rejoinder.

Despite the falsehoods promoted by some opposition political leaders and other detractors, Uganda Government remains solidly committed to tenets of democracy, rule of Law and respect of human rights, the very tenets why this government came into power in 1986.

Since 1986 we have had periodic elections in Uganda to choose political leaders at all levels. The only exception has been staggered-elections of Local Councils from LC1 to LC3 (because of logistical constraints), but this was addressed this year. Where there has been questions on conduct of the elections, there has been redress through the courts of law and the latter have pronounced themselves. Indeed there is evidence to show that some political leaders, including from the ruling NRM party, have lost their seats through the court system.

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda is the Supreme Law of the Land and Government has the obligation to ensure that it is upheld. No person in Uganda is above the Constitution and Law of the Land.

There has been questions about amending the Constitution to remove term limits and age limits. The Constitution provides for its amendment and the amendment that was done was legally done. The MPs who amended the Constitution are representatives of the people and there was a consultative process. The question is not about amending the constitution, as amendments happen in all countries, it is about the contradiction the amendment sought to cure; namely, discrimination that is not practiced elsewhere in many developing and developed countries. Even then, countries differ in their legal provisions on term limits and age limits and they are entitled to their respective positions. In U.S.A, like in the majority of countries all over the world, there are no age limits. There are term limits in U.S.A but there are no term limits in U.K, Germany, Italy, France, and a majority of other Western countries. In the case of Uganda and those countries without term limits, it is the electorate that limits the terms of their leaders by voting them into power or voting them out of power. The decision to determine term limits and age limits of political leaders is directly by the electorates.

The opponents of the constitutional amendments claim that the MPs were bribed which is not true. However, shortly after the amendment on age limits, local council elections were conducted throughout the country. These elections are by people lining up behind a candidate representing a party of their choice. No chance to rig because those elections, from LC1 to LC3, are physically verifiable. NRM won them by 83.6%. If then the elected MPs were not representing the popular views, don’t the results of the LC elections and women councils provide evidence that this was a popular decision? NRM’s programs are transforming Uganda under the leadership of H.E President Museveni and that is why NRM continues to command overwhelming support. Yes, there are still challenges especially those relating to youth unemployment. Those challenges are being addressed through deliberate programs put in place in support of youth employment. Here in U.S.A we are encouraging American companies to take advantage of the conducive business environment in Uganda and the high returns on investment to establish investments in the country; and thereby they will rip profits and create jobs especially in the energy and manufacturing sectors.

You also raised questions about Uganda’s credentials on human rights and especially on conduct of arrests. Uganda Government does not condone torture or any other abuses on its citizens or other persons. Any person, be it security personnel or other, who commits abuses is apprehended and subjected to the Law. As stated above, stopping human rights abuses is one of the reasons this Government came into existence. Uganda is a signatory to the U.N Convention Against Torture. The Convention was ratified by the NRM Government in 1987 and, since then, Uganda presents periodic reports to the U.N.

Regarding concerns of torture and brutalization of Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi, a.k.a. Bobi Wine, and the others, their concerns are being investigated. The UPDF and UPF have instituted boards of inquiries and the outcome will be made public. Moreover, the Uganda Human Rights Commission, which is independent, will issue its own report. Over all, there is a case before courts of law and the latter shall pronounce themselves on the said concerns among other things.

It is however surprising that there are calls to drop the treason charges on grounds that they are tramped-up. In whichever language the charges are described, the courts of law should be left to do their job and decide. Respect of the due process is an obligation on any government and it is an advice we take and are committed to and an advice we expect from all those concerned.

What happened in Arua, and before then in other parts of the country, bordered on impunity by some opposition political leaders. Political leaders and Peoples representatives, above all, are expected to behave responsibly. Uganda Government believes in the rule of law and nobody is above the law. Every right has an implied duty and obligation. There is the freedom to enjoy one’s rights, but to the extent that in doing so one does not offend the rights and freedoms of others. One of the issues that lead to chaotic situations in the country relates to illegal assemblies and demonstrations promoted by some opposition political leaders. The Ugandan law governing demonstrations, which is almost similar to the U.S law, requires that permission is sought and details agreed with police before any demonstration proceeds. However, some political leaders prefer to flout the law and organize their processions through congested areas in commercial districts so that they create chaos, vandalize people’s property and thereby invite law enforcers into running battles and unnecessary scenes; all, to make government look bad. It is about gaining political capital through unlawful means.

Uganda Government has a duty to protect everyone. It is not right that some people enjoy their rights at the expense of others. Opposition political leaders have been called upon to go about their opposing with civility and humility and in accordance with the law. Hon. Kyagulanyi, with the impeding case to answer, is back in Uganda going about his business freely. It is also true that he is continuing to go too far in flouting the law by spirited calls for insurrection and removal of government by all means.

Lastly, I look forward to continued engagements with Members of Congress not only on these matters but also on the strategic engagements and partnerships between the U.S and Uganda.

Yours Sincerely
Ambassador Mull S. Katende
Embassy of The Republic of Uganda, Washington DC.

See link from Chair US Committee on Foreign Relations.

Washington DC. | US Senators of the Committee on Foreign Relations Condemn Democratic Backsliding in Uganda

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

One Comment

    Baluku Didas

    I love this Ambassadorial Statement

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