By Amb Henry Mayega
The recommendations made by the European Union Parliament regarding the January 14 general elections and the situation in the country exuded double standards and was doubly a flagrant travesty of Uganda’s sovereignty. It should be recalled that the EU had shortly before the polls announced that it “will not deploy an observer mission for Uganda’s presidential election” last January. The African Union and the East African Community fully observed the polls, anyway, and endorsed them as having been free and fair. So, the million-dollar question is: if they did not take part in the monitoring of those polls where did they get the locus standi and audacity of basing their resolutions on hearsay and gossip. Some with a cognitive deficit have quoted the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States as the basis! Balderdash!
First, it is an axiomatic truism that the Yoweri Museveni administration knows Uganda’s political terrain better than all foreigners combined just like the later know theirs better than us. Foreigners cannot claim that they are, for instance, the biggest consumers of our intel information which is a preserve of Uganda’s CEO, President Yoweri Museveni and our robust security forces; those forces detected much earlier that Kizza Besigye’s and Bobi Wine’s “Plan B” was betokened to make Uganda ungovernable before, during and after elections. The duo’s “Plan B” was nipped in the bud by busting their cell formations otherwise our western lecturers would have already given advisories to their nationals to avoid traveling to Uganda. The security forces were on top of things right from the time of the November 2020 riots that unfortunately claimed over fifty lives; the situation would have been pervasively uglier.
Ironically, the London riots of August 2011 and France’s yellow vest riots of 2018 claimed five and eleven Lives respectively! France’s yellow vests’ riots injured 4,439 (both police civilians). Should the AU impose sanctions on the EU over those transgressions and misdemeanors? The Secessionist Catalonia region of Spain has had long-running riots and participants have been bludgeoned by that country’s security forces but has the EU sanctioned Spain? Absolutely not! The US on the other hand has operated Guantanamo Bay detention center where the most squalid conditions have been meted out on detainees. Has the EU ever sanctioned them?
Secondly, the most hilarious ground over which Uganda is being proposed for sanctioning is our “harsh law on homosexuality!” The EU lawmakers should be reminded that the British colonialists left that piece of legislation in our law books after their departure in 1962. We are severally forthright and candid on that matter; that perversion is not African and no one is permitted to promote that debasement.
Elsewhere, the EU parliament targeted Uganda over using the COVID 19 pandemic to “curtail Ugandans’ freedoms!” Ironically it is not a secret that several European countries imposed debilitating restrictions (lockdowns) on their citizens recently ostensibly to curb the pandemic; European folks should understand that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The lockdown in Uganda remarkably slowed down the spread of the pandemic and that’s why the infections and fatalities are negligible here. So please, EU, style up, or else your pervasive diplomatic over-reach will be resisted to the hilt. Most of the Brussels-based EU Parliamentary members do not even know the location of Uganda on the globe.
Thirdly, those intrusive antics by the EU against independent Uganda exude a level of neocolonialism; Uganda is a sovereign country and as such, it cannot entertain lectures and fulminations from our former colonial masters from Europe. President Yoweri Museveni has always emphasized African solutions to the continent’s problems; replicating European political gymnastics and tinctures would be like forcing a square peg in a round hole. When Europe and the rest of the west intruded in both Libya and Iraq outside international law, there were dire consequences in those two countries. In the case of Libya, different regional militias and warlords emerged and that country has, since, neither seen peace nor security let alone a unitary government. The much-touted Arab Spring by the west made that country a no-go place. In Iraq, religious sectarianism and bigotry ensued and eventually birthed a caliphate, ISIS, which slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people.
Fourthly, during the London riots of 2008, France’s yellow vest riots of 2018 and the long drawn out Catalonia riots of Spain, security forces never massaged rioters; in many cases, they used live ammunition and tear gas to subdue criminals. The style and nature of Uganda’s riots have not been dissimilar to Europe’s; during the parliamentary debates of 2018 to expunge the age limit clause from the constitution, Wine Bobi et al were seen in video clips atop of tables beating up MPs on the opposite side of the political aisle; in Arua, the same goons beat up NRM women to stop them from participating in the by-election that brought Kassiano Wadri to Parliament; the November 2020 riots saw the erection of illegal roadblocks, undressing of NRM women clad in yellow, looting, shooting security forces with arrows from high rise buildings in Kampala, burning cars, hammering that policewoman to near comatose, beating up innocent people as well as extorting money from pedestrians; the post-January 14, 2021 election minimal incidents saw NUP goons petrol-bombing buses plying to and from western Uganda. Now, according to EU parliamentarians, the victims of those goons in all those cases ceased to enjoy the right to protection from Uganda’s security forces!
Ambassador Henry Mayega
Deputy Head of Mission
Abu Dhabi, UAE