Museveni must account for torture victims, Wine and Besigye demand

President Yoweri Museveni Interview in Uganda. [UPPS]

Uganda opposition leader Robert Kyangulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine and seasoned Uganda politician Kizza Besigye have called on the Ugandan government to account for the victims of torture.

Speaking during the Uganda Human Rights Accountability Conference in Nairobi, Kyangulanyi said over 100 Ugandans were killed and scores injured by the military during the 2020 general elections.

“There are so many women who were raped and men who were sodomised but they cannot speak about such back at home. We are demanding for rights of being human beings and be treated as such,” said Kyangulanyi.

The conference hosted by Kenya Human Rights Commission was conducted in commemoration of the days in November 2020 when Ugandan security unleashed unprecedented violence on young protestors, killing over 100 young people.

According to the activists, the Uganda Human Rights Accountability Conference held in Nairobi would establish a regional platform for mobilising Ugandans and the international community to demand for accountability for gross human rights abuses by President Yoweri Museveni's regime.

“Ugandan security forces under Yoweri Museveni have sustained extreme violence against his opponents, sustaining a campaign of eliminations, kidnaps, torture and other forms of human rights abuses against young pro-democracy activists.

“We can longer meet in Uganda but the situation could get even worse if we just sit and do nothing. We are living under a dictatorship. We cannot carry out political party activities in Uganda and we must act,” said Kyangulanyi.

A number of torture survivors gave testimonies of their ordeals during the protests held in Uganda in the 2020 elections.

From left, Kizza Besigye, Mugisha Muntu, Winnie Kiiza, Bobi Wine and Martha Karua during the Uganda Human Rights Accountability Conference in Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Besigye said the Museveni’s administration was targeting supporters of the National Unity Platform, the majority of whom were killed, kidnapped and others left with serious injuries.

“The attention must be drawn to the whole world and start demanding action and accountability for the torture. The weight of human rights abuses that have taken place in Uganda dating in the 70s must be accounted for,” said Besigye.

Besigye called on Kenyans not to take the debate on removing the presidential limit lightly, saying it is a sign of making of dictatorship.

"We are calling the international community to stand with the people of Uganda against the oppressors. Kenya is not yet out of the woods. Your democracy has not been consolidated yet and anything can happen to it and dangerous signs are already popping up," said Besigye.

The Aziimio Coalition running mate in the last presidential elections Martha Karua called on Kenyans to come together as citizens of East Africa to defend their human rights.

“There is a recession of democracy all over the world and Kenya is no exception. If we do not have a continuous purpose for vigilance, even the people who look like they are doing okay can lose what they have,” said Karua.

Karua said the old ‘divide and rule’ strategy is still on in African countries.

“We should not give a chance to people who have no respect for democracy and human rights. Democracy means recognising that whatever you are doing as a leader, you do it in the name of the people,” she added.