Uganda: Besigye, Rights Activists Praise U.S. Ban On Kayihura

(file photo).
16 September 2019

Opposition leaders and rights activists have welcomed Washington's decision to impose financial sanctions and visa ban on former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura.

Four-time presidential challenger Kizza Besigye said the actions "underscore our concern with human rights violations and abuses in Uganda".

The United States Treasury Department in a statement released last Friday said they were designating Gen Kayihura under Executive Order (E.O) 13818 for his alleged involvement in gross rights violations perpetrated by police's Flying Squad unit as well as corruption and drug trafficking

In a rejoinder, Gen Kayihura dismissed the punishment as inconsequential since he has no property either in the US or overseas for Washington to freeze.

He also questioned the motive of the Donald Trump administration to target him when he worked most times with Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents and received a prize from America for his contribution in fighting terrorism and violent crime.

"There is no high profile case in which our units did not liaise with the FBI. They participated in, for example, the investigations into the assassinations of [former principal state attorney] Joan Kagezi and [former police spokesman] Andrew Felix Kaweesi as well as the 2010 terror case. The Treasury would thus do well to sanction those officers also," he stated.

Under the order, the US administration will actively hunt and seize the ex-IGP's wealth and money wherever America has jurisdiction.

In Kampala, Opposition politicians said the sanctions, which apply as well to Kayihura's wife and two children, sign-posts the need for Uganda leaders to be accountable when in office.

What they say

The four-time presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye. These actions against Kale Kayihura underscore our concern with human rights violations and abuses in Uganda as well as our support for accountability for those who engage in such violations and abuses. We call on the Ugandan government to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

Opposition Chief Whip, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju. President Museveni, on whose behalf these (police) crimes were being coordinated and committed, should have been part of those sanctioned. May be that is what awaits him when he leaves power. Kayihura brutalised people to make sure Museveni stays in power.

Col Shaban Bantariza, the deputy executive director of Uganda Media Centre. Kayihura's rebuttal in respect to allegations raised by Washington was sufficient.

Rtd Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu. It is consistent with regimes that have gone wrong. But in most cases, it is the individuals who are victims of the bad government and later pay the price for serving the bad government. If the regime gets off track, the individuals shouldn't get off track too.

Human rights lawyer, Mr Nicolas Opiyo. We also hope that this citation is only the start of many such actions by development partners to hold to account all those involved in grave violations in Uganda. We hope the killers of the people of Kasese, the managers of safe houses, will be held to account too. The wheels of justice will turn and if they committed crimes.

Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative. It should serve as a strong warning to all who engage in human rights violations. In Uganda, with the new (Anti-Torture) law, every human rights violator is liable and he/she can no longer plead powers from above. Sanctions are welcome as long as they are not politically motivated.

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