17 September 2018

Uganda: Govt Responds to EU Parliament Over Bobi Wine's Alleged Torture, Prosecution

Photo: Bobi Wine
Bobi Wine.

Uganda has reacted to European Union (EU) Parliament demands among which include an independent probe into last month's Arua violence saying government will not be held at ransom by Opposition's foreign backers.

The EU Parliament last week issued a stern warning to Uganda, accusing the country of continued violation of human rights during and after the Arua Municipality parliamentary by-election.

In a 14-point resolution dated September 13, the Parliament asked the Executive to respect the independence of Parliament and drop what they called trumped up charges against Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, and all other 33 suspects implicated in the Arua fracas.

However, government spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo on Monday said Uganda takes objection to what he called the tacit approval of undisciplined behaviour by EU and some of its institutions or some of the politicians in the country.

"We also object to the condescending tone contained in the language of this resolution. The matters referred to in this resolution such as the threat to the security of the president while in Arua on August 13, the 33 arrested in connection with this incident including the MPs and the regrettable loss of life of some of the people are all under investigation by credible and competent arms of the state and overseen by an independent judicial system in Uganda," said Mr Opondo while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.

WATCH VIDEO: Uganda hits back at EU Parliament over Bobi Wine prosecution, alleged torture

According to him, Uganda will continue to protect the rights of the majority to exercise their freedoms as well as the minority that want to express their views in a civil manner "against this radical and extreme element that derives its legitimacy from foreign backers."

"The mere fact that we have an extremely vocal minority that can reach EU Parliament, doesn't mean that the silent majority in their shambas, market stalls, dukas, workshops, schools, and health centres shouldn't be protected against hooliganism," he added.

Mr Opondo further noted that the Ugandan state and government has exercised maximum restraint under intense provocation on so many occasions in the hope that the leaders of opposition groups would reform.

"But, there has been a marked pattern of pre-planned and well executed violence, quite often with active financial and technical support from foreign groups operating in Uganda under the very guise of freedom of expression. In fact, if some elements of this opposition were not emboldened by this external financial, political and technical meddling, they would apply saner means to convince their electorate," he added.

"The people of Uganda and their government, therefore, would do well with respectful partnerships to promote the work done over very many years than the current sanctimonious lectures on rights most of which had been trampled upon even when the current pretenders at their defense were either looking on sheepishly or they were active participants in their violation," said Mr Opondo.

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