By LYDIA AMUYA
KAMPALA- SHIFTMEDIA– The post-election period has been characterised by tension around disappearing Ugandans. So far at least 213 Ugandans have been reported missing according to the National Unity Platform(NUP).
Many families have been looking for their relatives who had been picked up by plain clothed persons in drones and driven to unknown places.
NUP President Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu, said on Sunday, “Panda-gari’ is back in full force. Political activists and ordinary citizens now dread these vehicles called drones. Countless Ugandans have been abducted and taken to unknown places. Kenneth Mukasa, a comrade, is the latest victim. Kidnapped yesterday, no one knows where he is.”
Now the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) are demanding that government takes immediate action.
Addressing the press at their Muyenga offices on Wednesday, CCEDU Executive Director Charity Ahimbisibwe said the people being kidnapped were disappearing because of their political affiliations. This is a direct infringement to their rights as guaranteed in Article 29 of the constitution that provides for the right to assemble and associate with a political thinking of one’s choice,” said Ahimbisibwe.
She noted further: “Ugandans are hurting, families have been weeping for weeks, all they desire are answers from the state on the whereabouts of their relatives.”
President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in a recent address said some of the ‘kidnapped’ persons would be released unconditionally. He said some were being held by his Special Forces Command after intelligence reports linked them to planned terrorism activities.
The minister for Internal Affairs, Gen. Jeje Odong on Tuesday told NBS TV that they would not apologise for any missing persons.
Last week he told Parliament that and presented a list of 177 missing persons.
The 177 were part of the names on the list of the 213 missing persons that NUP had earlier on released. The minister said the 177 were arrested for being in possession of military stores or were said to have been planning an insurrection after the 2021 general elections.
But Ahimbisibwe said that while, CCEDU acknowledges that insurrection is unconstitutional, the organisation remains cognisant of the non-derogable right to a fair hearing. “Article 42 of the Constitution provides that every person has a right to a fair, speedy and public hearing before an independent and impartial court or tribunal. This is in regard to both civil cases and criminal charges. Therefore, all the people who were arrested by security forces and subsequently reported as missing by their relatives and families have to be subjected to, two cardinal principles in the rule of law as provided by the Constitution,” she said.
She said those under captivity have a right to be produced in court within the mandatory 48 hours) and the right to a fair hearing, anything short of this means the security forces are acting outside constitutionally provided means of resolving conflict.
sh e said that CCEDU is concerned that the majority of the kidnapped persons are the youth who have for long been sceptical of participating in electoral processes and now that they came out in big numbers and exercised their rights to participate as guaranteed in Article 38 of the Uganda Constitution.
As a way forward, CCEDU unequivocally demands that the authorities account for each of the missing persons and has opened a phone line 0704 221605, that the public can call in case they have missing relatives. CCEDU will compile each case to submit to our network of public interest litigation lawyers. CCEDU will also follow up the cases it compiles with the Police.
These new demands come at a time when the National Unity Platform leader Robert Kyagulanyi says he won the 2021 election with 54.19% but was rigged out.
“We just tabled before the nation evidence that the January 14th election was massively rigged. From our tally (even with all the ballot stuffing) we beat Gen. Museveni with 54.19% but he went on to declare himself! We are now back to the PEOPLE OF UGANDA,” he tweeted Tuesday.
He said among the DR forms presented at NUP offices in Kamwokya, was that of Anyang polling station in Nebbi where the Electoral Commission deleted 4, to give me 08 instead of 84 votes.
“The form they released as genuine last week, as well as the original DR form are both here. This trend is repeated in thousands of DR forms.”
He added: “Such brainless election fraud! This is why we are entering the phase of resistance. Every Ugandan must rise to the occasion and resist Museveni and his regime of blood and shame!”
As promised when he withdrew the Election Petition from the Supreme Court, Bobi Wine brought the matter to the People of Uganda. (Additional Reporting by PATRICK JARAMOGI)