By Amb. Henry Mayega
It is the most tantalizing “what if” Uganda sponsored political processes as well as civil society groups in the US, especially during an electoral cycle! If we did, then we would be condemned with sanctions, called a rogue state and the entire west would be mobilized to tow the same line. Ironically, during the entire life of the Donald Trump administration, Russia was deceitfully hounded especially by democrats, even if inquiry upon inquiry found the accusations against that country baseless, for electronically influencing the outcome of the 2016 US general elections in favor of DJT, the Republican contender and against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. Which in a sense, contradicts what those wonderful people do elsewhere on the globe for instance in China, Venezuela and Cuba and now in Uganda!
Just recently, US’s congressman, Elliot Engel urged the US Treasury to invoke the Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and sanction Ugandan individuals over alleged human rights violations in disregard of the already concluded due process of our laws on the matter. He went ahead with his diatribe to request the US Treasury to among others "...support human rights defenders…independent journalists and…civil society organizations…! Fortunately, Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa has responded most robustly to those double standards explaining how things are done here in accordance with the cobweb of our laws. Of all Uganda’s post-independence governments none has respected peoples’ human rights like the Yoweri Museveni government which for the very first time in the country’s history instituted the Uganda Human Rights Commission that regularly issues status reports – has Elliot Engel read them?
And the litany of accusations? The 2016 Kasese raid, the 2017 raid on Parliament, imposition of the digital tax in 2018, the arrest of Bobi Wine and Zaake after the Arua debacle and the November 2020 riots are all, according to Engel, violations of human rights! So, that means from now on whenever goons break the law, we must consult Engel and company before we act! Our security forces must wait in their droughty corridors for Engel’s authorization before stopping criminals in their tracks. Really! And the dual of fifth columnists namely Kiiza Besigye and Jonny come lately, Bobi Wine are most ecstatic about the west’s overbearing and intrusive stance because that soothes their cognitive-deficit-ridden minds! That shouldn’t surprise patriotic Ugandans because the saying goes “a drowning man clutches at a serpent!”
First, the most whimsical thing is for Elliot Engel and his ilk, USAID’s Richard Nelson to forget that Uganda is an independent country: that sovereignty cannot be wished away by the stroke of a pen, never. In the execution of matters of state, we will not consult anyone, not even the goliaths of this fallen world where liberals, homosexuals and others hold some sway. Uganda is neither a colony nor a protectorate of anyone, we are a sovereign state.
Secondly, the actions of our gallant security forces regarding the raid in Kasese (where an armed rebellion was underway) and on Parliament (where some Ugandan made democrats including Bobi Wine et al were captured in a clip using microphone stands to beat up NRM MPs who are assumed to have no right to protection) were carried out within the realm of their mandate namely to restore law and order. And in Arua, the same group blockaded President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade, pelted it with stones and beat up NRM women voters to stop them from participating in the then by-election! To Engel, the NRM women folks are less of citizens than those who belong to the opposition. For Richard Nelson, if he had been a Ugandan living in the US and indulging in that country’s political processes he would have already had his visa and work permit revoked. Relatedly, the actions of our security forces being condemned by Engel are the very reason why his country is not issuing advisories to their nationals to limit their travel to Uganda. Libya, where the dim-witted and hare-brained actions of the west were invested, has currently neither an effective government nor peace and stability! It is all a game of warlords in charge of swathes of sand-dunned lands!
Thirdly, the most hilarious accusation against Uganda was that it imposed the digital tax to gag the opposition! Well, even the NRM supporters pay it! Looking at it differently, should the country always consult Engel before parliament carries out its legislative obligations? If the digital law was unjust, Engel and his proteges had an opportunity to seek judicial redress rather than stampede Uganda’s electoral processes. And when violent Kiiza Besigye and his sidekick, Bobi Wine. talk about plan B, they are essentially talking about a foreign-backed insurrection whose miniature, fortunately, came into the public domain in November this year by way of rioting. And when some from the civil society who are funded by foreigners, liberals and homosexuals had their accounts frozen, Engel et al jumped into the fray because their project and proteges were being nipped in the bud.
It was an alluring coincidence that while Elliot Engel roared from the US, Richard Nelson was painstakingly demanding that Uganda’s Financial Intelligence Authority unfreezes the national NGO forum account. Relatedly, Nicholas Opio was caught pants down withdrawing cash amounting to USD 340,000 (Ugx 1,244,400,000) from his chapter 4 Uganda bank account in Kampala! This is a man who has been billed by the west as a human rights defender. The first name of that level of intrusion from the west is subversion and the last is money laundering both leading to prosecution. That level of impunity cannot even be tolerated by the US and the entire west. There are several cases of Ugandan nationals who were locked up in the US over similar misdemeanors and deported afterward.
Amb. Henry Mayega
Deputy Head of Mission
Uganda Embassy, Abu Dhabi, UAE