Weeks before the official campaigns kick off, the Electoral Commission and police are about to wipe out any hope that they would, this time, conduct themselves with civility and in a non-partisan fashion.
In the last three days alone, police officers in eastern Uganda have behaved in a most deplorable manner wantonly tear-gassing Ugandans just because they chose to gather, as is their legitimate right, to listen to a politician.
In the same period, the EC has gone to great lengths, issuing statements demanding that former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi refrains from addressing rallies and instead sticks to holding consultative meetings. For the uninitiated, this would have seemed perfectly plausible. However, how would the same authorities then rationalise their deafening silence when the President has gone around addressing rallies with an overtly campaign tone in about the same period?
This blatantly selective application of the rules is the latest in a long and growing list of aggravations against the civil liberties of Ugandans. In the interest of national security, peace and stability, all patriots must denounce this misbehaviour by elements of State.
We realise that many Ugandans are now asking: if the ruling party feels confident enough of mass support as it asserts, why then are the police, EC and other State functionaries so quick to restrain regime opponents from exercising their constitutional rights? What is it that the police and EC are so afraid of?
The people who were tear-gassed in Teso were Ugandans peacefully gathered enjoying their fundamental human right to freedom of assembly. There was absolutely no justification for any violence against them.
The country soon heads into a general election. At a time like this it is the people’s right to listen to whoever plans to canvass for their support. Unless Uganda is a police State, we must all reject the lawless and reprehensible conduct of institutions that are otherwise supposed to uphold the law.
We must recall that Ugandans have repeatedly been told that President Museveni participated in an armed struggle so that the human rights of his countrymen would again be respected. Please stop making a mockery of that claim and thereby insulting the memory of those who shed their blood in that cause.
This country does not belong to any single individual it is our country. The Constitution in Article 1 proclaims that all power belongs to the people. No one can, therefore, pretend to enjoy a superior claim to this land, and as such purport to enjoy a higher privilege.