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September 23, 2012

Uganda Opposition Demands Investigation of Killings

Uganda’s political pressure group For God and My Country (4GC) will launch this week a nationwide campaign to pressure the government to investigate the killings of opposition protesters.

“A series of activities are lined up and we intend to make the official announcement Tuesday,” said Mathias Mpuga, a Member of Parliament and leader of the 4GC.

“We intend to raise and demand to bring to book all of these culprits of murders, as well as such murders in our post-independence history; that and more, including the demand for accountability from the leaders of the day after 50 years of nothingness.”       
                                  
Mpuga said the administration has yet to respond to demands by civil society and opposition parties to punish the alleged perpetrators of the crime.

He said his group will hold a series of rallies, vigils and fundraisers to help those families who lost their families to those killed during the group’s activities.

“[Our] people were killed over the years during our last activities, cold blooded murder that has never been investigated.  We have particular cases where even the culprits are known by everyone and they have never been prosecuted or even brought to book to answer for these atrocities,” said Mpuga.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said the administration has failed to investigate the deaths three years ago of at least 40 people during two days of rioting.

 “The long government inaction on the killings of people in September 2009 is an insult to victims,” said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.  “Resorting to lethal force without clear justification in the face of protests is unacceptable, yet it is becoming the norm in Uganda.”

This comes ahead of a series of planned activities to celebrate the country’s golden independence anniversary.  Uganda gained its independence from former colonial power, Britain, in October 9th 1962.

President Yoweri Museveni has been in power for the last 26 years, which analysts say is the longest serving administration in the country’s history.

Some observers have criticized members of the 4GC for being unpatriotic. They contend that this is not the time to play politics, since their activities will undermine the golden jubilee celebrations.

But, Mpuga said the government is to blame for its bad policies.

“For all the abuse, they are not remorseful and they continue to put on a strong face despite failed service delivery.  There is nothing worth celebrating,” said Mpuga.

The government has often banned opposition-organized demonstrations and protests, which have often turned violent, as supporters clashed with police, especially in the capital, Kampala.
Clottey interview with Mathias Mpuga,Uganda opposition 4GC leader