The European Union has come out to condemn the acts of violence that marred last week’s electoral campaigns that saw the arrest and detention of National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine.
Bobi Wine’s arrest sparked off protests and riots in Uganda’s major towns with the worst being in Kampala where over 50 people lost lives and scores are still nursing injuries across the country.
In a joint local statement on the election-related violence in Uganda dated 26 November 2020, European Union has raised concern and appealed to the Uganda government to take responsibility and protect the citizens as required by the law and further demanded for respect of human rights.
“The Delegation of the European Union issues the following statement together with the diplomatic missions to Uganda of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden as well as Iceland and Norway,” reads the statement.
The statement further adds: “The deaths of dozens of people amidst widespread violence that marred the electoral campaign on 18th and 19th of November, we offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims, who reportedly include innocent bystanders.”
“Last week, Uganda witnessed rioting, chaos as well as disproportionate use of force by security services. The Government of Uganda and its institutions have the responsibility to ensure the safety, security and dignified treatment of all citizens, including electoral candidates and their supporters, in line with national laws and Uganda’s international human rights commitments,” EU urged.
”As we move forward in the electoral process, we urge all political parties and electoral candidates to call upon their supporters to refrain from violence and inflammatory language, and to take firm action to end any provocation or incitement to violence or any unlawful action. All political parties, candidates and their supporters should ensure the full implementation of the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures and the relevant regulations designed to curb the spread of the virus” EU cautions.
EU further argues that a full and independent investigation should be launched into the events of 18th and 19 of November, to ensure justice for victims and to avoid impunity for the perpetrators who must be held accountable for their actions.
EU’s statement follows another statement from the US issued on Wednesday 28 October 2020, through their Embassy in Kampala which indicated that Uganda’s upcoming elections have important significance for the country’s democratic development and give expression to the will of the people.
It’s worth noting that the Secretary-General of UN also joined a list of concerned world leaders to further condemn all acts of violence and called on the Ugandan authorities to ensure that all perpetrators of human rights violations are held accountable and demanded for the immediate release of any individual who were arbitrary arrested.
In the same vein, the Secretary-General argued the security forces to act in accordance with the rule of law and human rights principles and refrain from using violence and adding that all political leaders and their supporters should participate in the electoral process peacefully, in accordance with the relevant regulations, and to refrain from any incitement of violence or hate speech.