President Yoweri Museveni personally called on Ugandan military leaders to deal with the political opposition in Arua last month, as clashes and protests led to deaths, injuries and high-profile arrests.
He confirmed the orders followed a stone-throwing incident as he campaigned there and praised the “remarkable discipline and restraint” of Uganda’s military in dealing with the candidates and marchers.
That’s according to a five-page letter Museveni sent to Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, and published by Ugandan media outlets. Kadaga called for an inquiry into the August 13 incident that left Afrobeats musician Bobi Wine – an opposition MP whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi – and others seriously injured; she also demanded that military personnel be arrested and held accountable.
“I would like to advise that we await the outcomes of the investigation,” Museveni answered, asking her to “refrain from use of the word ‘torture’ until we establish the full facts of the events of that day.” He then reminded Kadaga of the rights of Ugandan security personnel to use “reasonable force” when dealing with suspects and referred to possible terrorists among them.
“As for the cacophony of the so-called human rights defenders, in reality agents of imperialists’ interests and their local lackeys, I would advise them to stop wasting their time in Uganda,” added Museveni, before assuring Kadaga that Uganda is capable of managing its own affairs and pivoting to recent economic advances.
Museveni’s response came as the Ugandan military again denied torturing those in custody, including Wine – who wrote a detailed Facebook post on Monday alleging extensive torture at the hands of Ugandan security forces. Wine is in the United States for medical care, while fellow MP Francis Zaake has flown to India for treatment of serious injuries.
They are among nearly three dozen people, many of them injured, who were arrested after the Arua incident. Wine’s driver, Yasin Kawuma, was shot and killed during the violence.
A copy of Museveni’s entire letter was published here.
Image: President Yoweri Museveni file