Uganda: Africa Institute for Energy Governance – Statement on Arrest of Afiego Staff (23.10.2021)
I write what I like.
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the Government of Uganda (GoU) is steadily going after the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). This is a deliberate act to stop their efforts and work, which thwarts the ideals of the state and the President at this current time.
That’s why the ones who are doing civic education or participating in the electoral accountability is hit hard. This is very deliberately done, and it’s done after this year’s polls too. The state has already suspended and gone after the foreign funding of several of NGOs in the near past. So, today’s action and press statement from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Only shows a continuation of these acts.
The NRM and the State House are doing this to stifle, stop and ensure they have no transparency and accountability. They are stopping civilian activity and NGOs from gathering, making conferences and having trainings. This is of organizations such as CCEDU, Chapter Four, Gliss and CEW-IT. The only one missing this time around was CEON-U. The rest was already targeted of these sorts.
The National Bureau of NGOs seems to be only functioning to ensure the demise and silence the possible critics. The ones who dares to question the powers to be and the ones who work to educate the masses. Are apparently the ones this suspended indefinitely. These has been targeted before through other measures, but now they are using the whip of lacking audited books. Which is striking, after the same state blocked and ceased the ability for funding for several of these through the suspension of Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) earlier this year.
That’s why you know the suspensions and direct assault on the 54 NGOs is with a plan. The state has already targeted several of these for months. It is not like they haven’t been under scrutiny for so long.
What we are seeing today is furthering the cause and the battle for legitimacy, as the NRM and the Government trying to show its sovereign power. However, this will only backfire, as the state cannot resolve or abdicate its role to facilitate for NGOs/CSOs, as they do the work the state isn’t able to do and filling in the gaps of the government. That’s why this is tragic, but also obvious.
The NRM and President knows what they are doing. Since this isn’t the first shot or warning even. The state has before also raided several of offices in Kampala. It has done so to intimidate and silence these organizations. That’s why this is just a bureaucratic measure to silence them and finally put the nail in the coffin. Especially, to NGOs who uses their means and organize things in connection to elections and electoral education. It is not the run-of-the-mill organizations fighting poverty or illiteracy who his hit the hardest here.
That’s why you know the drill and the game-plan. They want to signal to the NGOs and CSOs, civil society in general that the government can cease your operation and stop you in your tracks. That is clear here and the only message I’m getting out of this. Peace.
It wasn’t only that the President graced the final rally the day before, or that the military and police used massive amount efforts to undermine the competition. No, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) had no message to send, so they had to arrest all Forum for Democratic Change Polling Stations agents and the big-shots, as they we’re not allowed to directly monitor the counting or the Return Forms from the Polling Stations. As well as we know the CCEDU are not allowed to observer the elections anymore. Therefore, the civil society and opposition was working with bent knees, while trying to run.
That the NRM won was made on the sky before the polls, as the military even took over Tally Centre before the ballots arrived to the polling stations. The talk of democracy or even level playing-field is foolish in this manner. When at the days of the polls, 20 FDC Polling Agents was arrested. These was the big-shots that was arrestd: Oddo Tayebwa and Stanley Katembeya.
To further prove the allegations. FDC MP Francis Mwijukye reported this earlier in the day:
“Police Director of Operations,Asuman Mugyenyi has ordered for the arrest of FDC leaders and agents in Sheema North where a parliamentary byelection is on going today. So far 15 leaders and 20 agents have been arrested. Meanwhile Am also surrounded here at Nyabwina primary school” (Francis Mwijukye, 08.10.2018).
When that is the case, as well as the police everywhere and the military too. The intimidation and the acts of government was made for the NRM to win. There was no other way out of this. The opposition wasn’t working together behind the candidate, which they have usually blamed FDC for their own works. So, now they left them all alone without any sympathy or putting up camp for the final week. There has been nothing from the ones talking of unity, the FDC was alone against NRM. Therefore, the ones speaking of ill of FDC’s actions in previous elections, better remember, that they have gone behind and supported other parties own candidates in By-Elections, but none gave the favor back here.
That Naome Kibaaju won wasn’t shocking with the manner this went down. If she thinks this is a whole-sum victory, she is apparently wrong. Not because the FDC lost. Any party can loose and that is justified. However, it is not justified when the tallying is done in darkness and the monitoring of the ballots has been only done by the government-friendly agents. That is easy math and shows the disgraceful acts of state.
This here saga continues. The good news is that this one didn’t end up in directly torture, forged up charges and more impunity from the state, other than the preventative arrests and the acts of intimidation. Because the NRM has no message to give the public.
The only thing make me happy, that there was no funeral because of this… there been to many dying over By-Elections and each one of them is one too many. Peace.
Today is the open MP slot left behind after the Sheema Municipality By-Election earlier this year, when Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye one his second race since 2016 and had to resign the Sheema North. That is why there is a by Election in Sheema North and why the NRM is having all the stakes in. While the Opposition are alone with one candidate and one party, as the rest has left them behind. You can wonder why, because recently, there has been joint opposition races in the by-election.
However, this has been a weird by-election, but that is maybe because of the aftermath of the Arua By-Election in August 2018. When the army, the Special Force Command and the opposition there has been charged with treason ever since. That is maybe why there are only two candidates and the NRM is ready with the same weapons today.
We haven’t seen the joint-opposition behind the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate, neither seen the critic against the NRM candidate either. The President joined the campaign on the last day before the election and held a big rally. But there haven’t been much scope or any seemingly to hit the radar. Before today, when the polls are appearing. The real NRM is appearing and they have to use the tools of intimidation and arrests to secure their results, even when they are just going against one candidate. They don’t have the message or the candidate to bring it in without all of that.
“At Kigarama Sub County headquarters,the said Tally Centre for tomorrows Voting in Sheema North Constituency. As we speak, Military and Army have already taken over the center ahead of stake holders meeting with the electoral commission. Its supposed to start at 2pm and now 3pm. The meeting has not started. This seems already an army engineered election which calls for more vigilance and confrontation” (Augustine Ojobile, 07.10.2018).
“Men in ‘police’ uniform commanded by ASP Kaganzi from Mbarara have arrested Hon. Odo Tayebwa at Kabutsye Town Council” (Forum for Democratic Change, 08.10.2018). Also reports of an arrest of Stanley Katembeya today as well. Therefore, the FDC are getting into usual trouble, as they are using their powers to control them.
“Heavy police and UPDF deployment has taken place in Sheema North Constituency in western Uganda as voters elect a new MP today. The race is tight between Naome Kibajju of the ruling NRM party and Guma Nuwagaba who defected from the NRM to opposition party FDC and the security men are said to have deployed across several sub-counties in the constituency” (Capital FM Uganda, 08.10.2018).
There are clear message sent by the NRM, that they are not losing this constituency, as they had it previously and intends to keep it. They have sent the Military to the Tally Centre yesterday, certainly not only at the one spot, but on the ones that matter. Where they can ensure the results are configured and rigged well. As the Opposition doesn’t have the manpower or reach to have checks- and balances.
The FDC are alone swimming in this and their campaign might have been good. Their candidate might be in question himself, as he was a loser in the NRM Primaries. The NRM seemingly still uses all intimidation and arrests to secure the outcome. They do not trust the Naome Kibaju candidacy to win the By-Election. If they did, they wouldn’t need the army and the police to do, what they do.
As long as there is no extra judicial killing and another funeral because of this By-Election. Then that is good somehow, though the NRM has little to bring to table, when they need the Security Forces to spread their message, which is, we rule, we reign and don’t try to stop us. Peace.