A UN secretary general question and answer session last week encompassed the brutal arrest of Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, a presidential candidate and member of Parliament for Kyaddondo East. Below is a transcript by ERNEST JJINGO.
obi Wine has been arrested again in Uganda ahead of the upcoming general election, how concerned is the secretary general about these developments?
We have been following the developments in Uganda around the presidential campaigns and it is very important that state institutions particularly security forces act in a manner that respects human rights and the principle of the rule of law for inclusive and broad participation in political and environmental processes.
We will be following up more closely on the latest developments and it is important that all parties, political actors and government leaders work in a way that will ensure a peaceful election. The arrest has been followed by protests which have been violently put down; there are even unconfirmed reports of people shot by security forces and now some sort of curfew underway.
How concerned are you about the current situation? People have a right to demonstrate peacefully. Any excessive use of force by security forces anywhere is of concern to us and it is important that there is a space provided for people to express themselves whether by demonstration or democratic process.
After 35 years in power, do you think President Museveni is going to allow free and fair elections? I ask that question because the EU is not going to send monitoring machine and it says the reason is because it has done it in previous years and in 2016 made 30 recommendations of the things the authorities need to do to have free and fair elections and not one of them has been implemented. I cannot predict what will happen but what I can say is that we hope that there will be a space for the exercise to be democratic.
Government response Government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo told The Observer that Uganda follows the constitution, rule of law and there is competent authority to lead in the best interest of Ugandans and any matter will be handled within that framework.
“The UN is free to follow events in member countries but absurdly it has stood by as countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya were destroyed through schemes similar to the one currently being brooded in Uganda. We do not need them to tell us what to do because Uganda knows what is best for itself,” he said, adding that Uganda is a state governed by laws and if anyone does not abide by them, the apparatus of the state takes them on.