Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Unity Platform-NUP party President, Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi has welcomed US travel restrictions on some government officials for human rights violations. On Friday, the US Department of State announced a blanket travel ban on some unnamed Ugandan government officials for alleged gross human rights violations and undermining democracy during and after the January 14, 2021, general elections.
The Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said the presidential polls in, which incumbent President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was declared winner, were “neither free nor fair.” Now, the NUP party President, Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi, who also doubles as the Kyandodo East legislator, says the sanctions are an important recognition that the elections were not held free and fair.
He noted that the sanctions send an equivocal message that the world is watching Uganda’s democratic practices and beginning to act. “The people of Uganda value their relationship with the global community and appreciate the concern shown by the United States on the deteriorating situation regarding human rights and civil liberties. It is our hope that other nations of the world will follow suit and support our quest for freedom and democracy,” reads Kyagulanyi’s statement in part.
However, the government has dismissed the position of the US, saying it acted on hearsay. Speaking on behalf of the Ugandan government, the Foreign Affairs State Minister, Okello Oryem, said Uganda is committed to protecting human rights and democracy. He also said the action by the US point to lack of respect for the sovereignty of Uganda.
More than 50 people were killed during the November 2020 protests triggered by the arrest of Kyagulanyi during his presidential campaign trail in Luuka district. There are also widespread complaints of kidnaps and torture of opposition supporters, mainly from Uganda’s youngest political party the National Unity Platform.