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Museveni announces unconditional release of 51 November protest detainee

Inter Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) meeting at Kololo independence grounds.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Museveni has announced that government will release over 51 people arrested during the November 2020 protest and review files of those already taken to court.

The president made the revelation at Kololo Independence grounds after chairing the 3rd summit of the Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue-IPOD.

Museveni said the issue of arrested people was one of those discussed in the meeting with President of Uganda People’s Congress-UPC Jimmy Akena and Democratic Party-DP President General Norbert Mao.

Museveni says the arrested people shall be freed unconditionally and helped to settle. For those before different courts of law, he promised to liaise with the Directorate of Public Prosecution-DPP to review each case and recommend a “soft” landing.

He says that the people who were arrested have helped government to learn more about the plans of their leaders whom he referred to as “mis-calculators”.

On 18th and 19th November 2020, protests erupted in different parts of the country following the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi of the National Unity Platform-NUP in Luuka district during a campaign trail. At least 54 people were killed and hundreds arrested.

Museveni says the protests were a result of “mis-calculators” who might have thought that their attacks on members of the NRM would scare people from voting and that probably the NRM government would collapse.

During the protests, videos circulated on social media showing women remove their yellow t-shirts for fear of being attacked by protesters said to be of the National Unity Platform.

Museveni says the NRM government makes a distinction between the misleaders and the misled. That’s why they have decided to release those arrested and review files.

The president has however not made a statement on compensation for people who were killed during the riots. Previously, Museveni had promised that government would compensate 22 victims of the protests whom he said were innocently killed. The remaining 32 were labeled rioters for whom there would not be any compensation.

The DP President General Nobert Mao says the spirit of IPOD is to have Uganda first. He says as he came to the meeting, he had in mind the acts of violence meted against politicians by security personnel, the brutal arrests and the kidnaps that have become rampant in the country.

The UPC President Jimmy Akena was grateful that they met as political parties and discussed challenges faced in the country.

IPOD is an organisation that brings together political parties with representation in Parliament. Current members are the NRM, UPC, DP, JEEMA and FDC.

However, FDC and JEEMA declined to attend the summit. FDC said that resolutions from previous summits have not been fully implemented and that the summit had been turned into a social event.

JEEMA said they had not agreed on the agenda of the meeting and hence could not take part.

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