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UGANDA: US ambassador’s civil rights concerns misplaced


FILE PHOTO: US Ambassador Malac

KampalaUganda | THE INDEPENDENT The Uganda Government spokesman has said US Ambassador Deborah Malac’s concerns over freedom of expression in the country are misplaced.

The US Mission issued a statement on Thursday morning stating that “The UnitedStates is deeply concerned that recent arrests and raids stifle the Ugandan people’s right to free expression and tarnish Uganda’s global image. We are disturbed by reports of raids on NGOs.”

The statement added that “Infringements on protected rights under Uganda’s Constitution will impede the country’s development. We call on the Government of Uganda to guarantee all its citizens freedom of speech, expression, and and assembly, without fear of intimidation.”

Media Centre Executive Director Ofwono Opondo issued a statement this afternoon responding to US Ambassador Malac’s concerns.

“While the Government of Uganda notes her concern, it is our considered view that they are misplaced because those so far summoned or held as a preventive measure are well-known to have been making statements over the last couple of months on various public media (Radios, TVs, and social media) threatening violence over what should otherwise be a civil and democratic process and debate in the parliament of Uganda,” Opondo said.

“Some of those summoned by police have made recorded statement and posted them on the media threatening to kill those they disagree with together with members of their families which cannot be tolerated. We therefore ask for patience as law enforcement conducts its investigations.”

Opondo concluded by warning that “while we value diplomatic relations with all the countries of the world, Uganda is not very keen to take unqualified lectures from foreign agents.” (read full statement bottom)

On Wednesday night police raided the premises of anti-poverty international NGO Action Aid which has been critical of the move to scrap the age limit.

A police search warrant said the raid was linked to “illicit transfers of funds to support unlawful activities.”

However, Action Aid Uganda communications officer Samanya Kyategeka told AFP from inside the building that the 30 staff were being interrogated about issues related to the age limit and that they were not allowed to leave.

In July, Action Aid Uganda issued a statement calling for Ugandans to “organise” and saying that removing the age limit “spells disaster not just for Uganda but the region” as it threatened the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another.

The European Mission in Uganda also issued a statement.

Uganda Response to Amb Malac September 2017 by The Independent Magazine on Scribd

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