News / Africa

Uganda Lawmaker Says Government is Limiting Political Space

Ugandan police arrested opposition leader Kizza Besigye and supporters before a political rally in July, 2012 in the capital, Kampala.
Ugandan police arrested opposition leader Kizza Besigye and supporters before a political rally in July, 2012 in the capital, Kampala.
Peter Clottey
A member of Uganda Parliament’s Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs says the government is using the police and other state institutions to trample citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and assembly and undermining the constitution.

Muwanga Kivumbi Muhammed, a member of parliament for Butambala and a leader of the opposition Democratic Party, says the administration is limiting the political space. He says the government won't allow opposition groups to freely operate in the country’s democracy. He charged that they prevent opponents from engaging the public in dialogue on their recent demand for electoral reforms ahead of the 2016 general election.

His comments came after police reportedly removed Mugisha Muntu, leader of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), and Zac Niringiye, a retired bishop, from a live radio show in Kabale Town in Uganda’s southwest.

Opposition keeping police informed

Muhammed says the police were informed about opposition activities to educate the public and to clarify the opposition’s right to insist on a transparent and credible vote.

“A deliberate effort was taken to write to the minister of internal affairs and a copy of which was given to the inspector general of police," Muhammed said. "We have tried in every way we can to obey the Public Order Management Law, bad as it may be. But the government has used forces of coercion and, I think, in utter contravention of the law. To me, it is an overthrow of the constitutional order."        

In response to the allegations, police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba says the reports were based on wrong information.

Nabakooba rejected charges that police officers are being politically influenced by senior government officials to prevent opposition groups from holding rallies across the country. She said opposition groups have often failed to inform the police on time as stipulated in the Public Order Management Act before holding their rallies.

Muhammed says opposition groups are getting more and more support for their demands for democratic reforms: changes at the electoral commission, and the creation of  a consultative forum to address challenges of electoral fraud ahead of the 2016 vote.

But he says the government continues to block opposition efforts to educate citizens about the need for credible elections.

Claims of tear gas attacks and arrests

“The government in utter contravention of the law is going around the country for the last two weeks arresting, tear-gasing, and putting key leaders in prison,” said Muhammed. “It is an abuse of our constitution, the basic tenets of our law and it is dictatorial and abuse of office.”

Supporters of the ruling party say the opposition has been creating chaos and confusion aimed at destabilizing the country to force a regime change. They contend that the government has an obligation mandated in the constitution to prevent violence and ensure the country’s stability.

Muhammed disagrees and says the opposition is simply trying to play its role in the democratic process. 

“How disruptive can a town hall meeting be? It is not a rally, it is not a call for demonstration. Just a conversation with the people inside four corners of a building. So, really, you can’t justify this in any democracy. In any democracy this is far below the mark,” said Muhammed.
Clottey interview with Muwanga Kivumbi Muhammed, Uganda parliamentarian
Clottey interview with Muwanga Kivumbi Muhammed, Uganda parliamentariani
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs