Uganda: Ignore Talk of People-Disappearances and Foreigners, Says Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni delivering the State of the Nation address in 2017.
14 February 2021

In a country where over three hundred people have reportedly disappeared in just over three months, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Saturday night urged the nation to "Ignore the talk of disappearances," adding that such was intolerable under the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

In repeated incidents that have escalated in the aftermath of the January 14 polls, eye witness accounts indicate that several citizens have been arrested or kidnapped by armed men moving in 'Drone cars' with tinted windows and no number plates.

Mr Museveni doubled down on heightened security operations during and after the elections that are now being contested by opposition dissidents at the Supreme Court.

"We brought a distinguished commando unit from Somalia- which had also destroyed ADF rebels. This commando group quickly defeated the terrorists who wanted to disturb elections. They killed some and arrested some of these terrorists," President Museveni remarked.

Without mentioning the exact number of those killed, Mr Museveni who was through the polls declared president-elect by the Electoral Commission- revealed that over 318 suspected 'domestic terrorists' have been arrested since November 2020.

"The Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) arrested 177 suspects and they were either granted bail by court or released. 65 other people arrested by CMI are being investigated," Mr Museveni disclosed in a night address he says was triggered by 'several' press reports on mysterious disappearances of citizens.

Activists and local press have continued to show videos and pictures of kidnapped civilians tortured and severely injured with some wailing families alleging murder of their loved ones at the hands of state tormentors.

The president acknowledged that the deployed commandos have arrested other 59 suspected 'lawbreakers' across the country.

"Security people should make this information available to the public so that this talk of disappearance is answered," said Mr Mueveni before stating, "17 people arrested by security operatives in Mukono City alone have since been released."

The mounted security operations, he says, have curbed new schemes of criminality that emerged during election season.

Referring to gruesome murders that dotted the country in 2018, Mr Museveni said criminality was orchestrated by elements against Uganda's progress, and with the aid of a criminal-infiltrated Police.

"Shallow people started killing Muslims and people like Joan Kagezi, Andrew Kaweesi, Mohammed Kirumira, Ibrahim Abiriga, women in Nansana, Entebbe and then the leaflets threatening people with panga attacks," he said.

'Ignore foreigners'

Mr Museveni, on the night openly unleashed criticism on some foreigners, particularly the European Union (EU) Parliament after it debated imposing restrictions on some government officials last week.

"I read in the newspapers about the EU Parliament sanctioning some Ugandans from traveling. For anybody to think that Africans are dying to go to Europe is something that shows lack of seriousness," President Museveni said.

Accusing former president Idi Amin of killing many nationals and being a 'foreigners' favorite, he told Ugandans: "When Idi Amin made a coup (1971); he was supported by foreigners but for us straight away after he had announced his coup, we decided to fight him because he couldn't understand our Pan-African aims. We need state-power to solve problems of Africa not just positions. Ignore foreigners."

Holding grip on NRM party ideologies, Mr Museveni slammed foreigners saying, "If we had listened to them, we would have made mistakes. Foreigners can lead to a lot of distortions."

The future of several Ugandans, with many incarcerated beyond the constitutionally provided 48 hours before facing trial but amid accusations of harboring intent to disrupt the State- now supremely rests upon pending investigations by security organs.

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