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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid