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UHRC: Quotes for a thought; a must read on Human Rights breaches in Uganda!

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“I had a case of my brother who was arrested by police and was asked to pay UGX 100,000. But after the community meeting by UHRC, I learnt that police bond is free.” A participant in a community meeting in Luweero District (UHRC, P: 64, 2016).

As there been a hectic year for Uganda, with the preparation for the General Election of 2016, the report from Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), should have lots of instances where the breaches of violations towards political opponents and dissidents from the NRM-Regime. As the system is to uphold the status-quo and respect Mzee. I will today look through the Report and find the most staggering numbers and tales. To show what kind of actions the government does against their own citizens, in the name of the Executive and his reign to keep rule all for himself!

Alone alleged violations in Uganda that we’re registered in 2015 we’re “Torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” total of 345, “Deprivation of personal liberty/detention beyond 48 hours” total of 247, “ and kind of violation in 2015 we’re 909 to all the offices of UHRC. As seen the registered complaints to the UHRC; the respondents are the once claimed to be responsible for the violations. Here is the one usually behind it:

“The top five respondents over the past six years (2010-2015) have remained the UPF, private individuals, UPDF, local governments and the UPS. In the six years, the UPF had a total of 2,646 (the highest number of complaints registered against a respondent), while private individuals had 1,271. The UPDF had 622; UPS, 205; and local governments, 200” (UHRC, P: 15, 2016). This here proves the level of violations from the Army and Police; the once that are surprised by that haven’t followed how the Modus Operandi of the security organizations in Uganda.

Kakira Prision

One testimony to the UHRC:

“I was told by the investigations team they would follow up my complaint of being detained for eight days at Kakira Police Station. Indeed the Uganda Human Rights [Commission] team did so. I was never at any one point in time asked for facilitation to conduct the investigation until it ended. I now await the outcome of the investigation. By the way, it is upon the Commission’s intervention that I was released immediately. Investigations were conducted objectively and thoroughly to the extent that the perpetrators asked for my forgiveness.” (UHRC, P: 15, 2016).

Second testimony to the UHRC:

“I was arrested by the police from Adjumani Central Police Station on allegations of theft. During detention, my money [amounting to] UGX 200,000 was taken and kept by the police. After conviction and serving my sentence in prison, I went to claim my money, but police told me it was an exhibit in court. When I reported the matter to UHRC, it was registered and investigated and all my money was paid back.” (UHRC, P: 16, 2016).

Complaints completed in 2015:

“In 2015, UHRC closed 382 complaints after investigations. Of these, 287 were backlog files and 95 were fresh complaints registered during the year. 382 complaints were closed for various reasons, including successful mediations, insufficient evidence, receipt of remedy by the complainant, requests from the complainants, referral to other institutions, cautioning of respondent and not revealing any human rights violation. Other reasons included merging of files, failure to trace respondents and death of complainant” (UHRC, P: 17, 2016).

Human Rights 17.11.15

Outstanding compensation from Attorney General to the Tribunal:

“Therefore, the UGX 758,552,86813 that MoJCA paid as compensation to victims of human rights violations in 2015 did not cover any beneficiary of the complaints decided by the Commission during the period 2013 to 2015 (refer to Annex A). As of 31st December 2015, the outstanding awards against the Attorney General was UGX 5,047,671,968 (Uganda shillings five billion, forty seven million, six hundred seventy one thousand, nine hundred sixty eight)” (UHCR, P:31, 2016). Here is the reason for the delayed compensation of the awarded through the tribunal: “Delayed payment of Tribunal awards. Respondents, especially the Attorney General, take long to pay tribunal awards. Although the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs has argued that this is mainly due to limited budgetary allocations, UHRC has realised that the delay is sometimes caused by the bureaucratic processes that require the respective state attorney to form the first opinion on whether to appeal or clear payment of the award. This has caused untold delays, especially in cases where the state attorney may not be willing to recommend payment of the award, particularly where the Attorney General was not represented during the hearings” (UNHCR, P: 32, 2016).

Prisoners awaiting Ministerial Orders:

“K.S Awaiting ministerial order for 24 years. It was reported that he does not get visitors” (…) “B.E Awaiting ministerial order for the last 15 years” (UNHCR, P: 37, 2016).

Third Testimony:

The human rights training we attended were very helpful. I learnt that when I torture a suspect it is entirely on me and me personally…”said an officer from Kasangati Police” (UNHCR, P: 37, 2016)

A little on how the detainees and Prison conditions are:

Many places don’t have transport for suspects of crime, they are taken random by public transport in places like Kole, Erute, Lira, Anyeke, Otuke, Pece and Kinene. With this result on place as well: “At Kamwenge and Bigere police posts, suspects were transported to court and back on bodaboda at a cost of UGX 60,000” (UNHCR, P: 44, 2016). Also inaccurate salaries and compensation of Police officers: “At Buganikere police post, an officer had not received salary since December 2013 and at Hima police station, five staff members had missed their salary of September 2015. At Rwangara police post, staff could not easily access salary because the bank was far away and they would have to incur transport costs” (UNHCR, P: 44, 2016). Even lacking basic structures is a problem at Police Post, Police Stations and Prison cells: “Detention facilities that did not have adequate water for sanitation and personal hygiene included Kiboga, Kasangati and Rubanda prisons, as well as Buseruka Police Post and Nakaloke and Bunkhongo police stations” (UNHCR, P: 51, 2016). When it comes to sleeping facility for detainees: “UHRC found that 234 out of the 896 detention facilities inspected did not have adequate beddings; so, detainees used either tattered blankets, mats or pieces of papers. This was observed in 41 prisons, 192 police detention facilities and one military detention place inspected. These facilities included: Mutufu and Ngora prisons; Ngai, Iceme, Aber, Kwera and Kangai police posts; as well as Dokolo, Otuke (adult cells), Agawata, Adwari and Olilim police stations” (UNHCR, P: 52, 2016).

AGEWATCH-summary-of-summary

The Senior Citizens Grants for Empowerment roll-out plan:

UHRC noted with concern that although 1.2 million people in Uganda were aged 65 years and qualify for the SAGE programme, only 123,260 were benefiting. However, in August 2015, the government announced the roll-out plan of the SAGE programme to 40 more districts across the country over the next five years, beginning with 20 in the FY 2015/16 and subsequently adding five districts every year for the next four years until FY 2019/20” (UNHCR, P: 103, 2016).

Digital Privacy:

“There were allegations of infection by malicious software of communication devices belonging to various individuals, including journalists, believed to be instigated by state agents.156 It is alleged that once infected with this software, a person’s computer or phone could instantly be remotely monitored; passwords, files, microphones and cameras could be viewed and manipulated without the owner’s knowledge” (UNHRC, P: 141, 2016).

On the General Election:

“UHRC noted reports of the overzealousness and selective application of EC guidelines by the UPF, leading to their alleged interference in and denial of some campaign rallies, prevention of opposition accident victims from accessing a health centre for treatment, prevention of people from attending opposition rallies, violently dispersing opposition rallies and injuring supporters; and the arrest of opposition officials and confiscation of opposition materials such as manifestos. It is worth noting that the UPF took action on some of its errant officers and instituted investigations into the incidents” (…) “There were concerns about the alleged discriminatory nature in the way political players enjoyed rights and freedoms of assembly, movement and personal liberty, which did not, in many cases, favour opposition leaders during the electoral period” (…) “Although UHRC noted positive developments, such as strengthened internal mechanisms in political parties, the successful nomination of presidential, parliamentary and various candidates at the local government, and introduction of new technology, such as SMS and the online system, there were challenges that still hindered the realisation of the right to vote. UHRC also noted that some of the challenges identified during the previous elections, such as the timely review of electoral laws, had not been addressed in the run-up to the 2016 elections. In addition, UHRC notes that there is need to address evolving challenges, such as lack of internal democratic party processes, the emergence of crime preventers and militia during the electoral period, and the varied interpretation of laws, in order to ensure that the right to vote is realized” (UNHRC, P: 169- 172, 2016).

UPF 2008 Torture

Proposed amendment of the 48 hour rule:

“There have been proposals to amend Article 23 (4), which prescribes for the production of a detained person to court within 48 hours from the time of his or her arrest, on grounds that the prescribed 48 hours is insufficient to bring a person to court” (… ) ” UHRC, therefore, recommends that:

  • Article 23 (4) should be retained and priority placed on enhancing the investigative capacity of the Uganda Police Force” (UHRC, P: 203-204).

Uganda Police Force should urgently address the issue of detention of suspects without files. If there are no files or charges against them, they should be released:

UHRC made this recommendation to the UPF in 2013. In 2015, the UPF informed UHRC that police commanders and officers in the Criminal Intelligence and Investigative Directorate (CIID) were tasked to ensure that whenever suspects are arrested, files should be compiled, proper and timely investigations carried out, and the necessary procedure followed to take the suspects to court immediately. With the establishment of the Directorate of Human Rights and Legal Services at police headquarters and the deployment of regional human rights officers in 16 regions, this problem was partially addressed” (UNHRC, P: 223, 2016).

Aftermath: 

Here you saw the definition of Human Rights issues, there we’re even more labor questions and education on Human Rights. The certainty is the levels of force from the Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) that are extending themselves into the citizens sphere and not being there to create security; instead breaching the levels of trust from the security organization and the citizens.

If you feel I left something behind, please put it in the commentary. This is for me the most important details; I couldn’t pick it all; as there we’re many breaches and many questionable actions towards the citizens that could be posted today. Because this is close to 2000 words, but the report are 296 pages. So the amount of details in the report could fill many pages more and a bigger article. This here is just a hunch of the breaches that the government and their institutions are doing, also the missing pieces to the laws and the institutions that’s securing the rights of the citizens. Peace.

Reference:

Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) – ‘The 18th Annual Report of the Uganda Human Rights Commission To the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda’ (July, 2016)

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NRM MPs express dissatisfaction with party CEC (Youtube-Clip)

“A number of NRM MPs have questioned how the party’s Central Executive Committee appoints representatives on bodies like the Parliamentary Commission and the Pan African Parliament. The NRM CEC last week voted and forwarded the names of six MPs appointed to the two bodies” (NTV Uganda, 2016).

NRM expresses concern about high rate of party MPs losing election petitions (Youtube-Clip)

“It has emerged that chairman of the National Resistance Movement party President Yoweri Museveni is not happy with the way his party members are losing election petitions. So far 11 NRM MPS have lost election petitions in court, though they have won 27 out the 38 cases that the courts have already dealt with. This development has resulted in the party secretariat returning to the drawing board to determine if and where the party erred in managing its candidates” (NTV Uganda, 2016).

 

Opinion: Where did the Statesmen go?

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There is a lot’s of Members of Parliament, lots of cabinets and governments with Ministers smiling and making nonsense claims or laws for quick popularity instead of long-term care of their citizens. That is why I write today, because this is international issue, where did the honorable elected person who actually gives a damn go? Do they hide in cave in Afghanistan or is it in tiny local council in Dublin? I just have to ask as the assets and the capital are spoilt, bent or betrayed by the same persons who are supposed to represent us. First let me explain what a Statesman is… and be clear this is not done in my words.

Meriam Webster says this: “a usually wise, skilled, and respected government leader” (Meriam Webster). Another dictionary says this: “a man who is a respected leader in national or international affairs” (Vocabulary). Some qualities many people agree that a Statesman should have is: “Principles”, “A Moral Compass”, “A Vision” and “The ability to build a consensus to achieve that vision” (McKay, 2012).

With that in mind you have a lot of expectation of a man or woman to be respected and qualities in the leadership from the person. There are not easy being resourceful, have the ability to govern and become respected. The ability and skills comes from the person and the respect. The respect comes from the ones the statesmen actually govern and international community.

Harvey Dent Gotham

The statesmen isn’t like the Members of Parliament (MPs) and Ministers of our day. There might be a few exceptions but our society is so quick and so microwaved. The news and the decisions are taken out of nowhere. What is worrying is how the multi-national companies (Like Royal Shell, Amazon, Monsanto and others) and multi-national organizations (World Health Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund). That together with International trade and Unions (NAFTA, European Union, ASEAN);  who keeps forging the sovereign nations under siege by trade-regulations and the restrictions on the nations who complies with laws they set.

This here is with all of this in mind together with the endless cycles of elections that the politicians have in mind. The initial issues with the access to the media as the live-TV and debates, together with Social Media and even radio programs; there are these where their legacy and character are on display, together with the initial reporting on what they are doing in their councils or parliament. The Politicians have aspects as they supposed to be loyal to the party organization and also to the constituency.

robot-nixon

The people who read the papers, the articles, listen to the radio and watch TV are the ones that will discuss these politicians and vote for them. They are the ones responsible for their existence if they are real elections then the ballot will pick the men and be tallied right. If they are rigged in and selected by a committee or an Executive, then they never will be statesmen; as they never have the moral compass to even show respect to the ones they represent.

An initial position for them is supposed to be the Representatives of the citizens or the constituency. These people who are supposed be leaders and take decisions where the end-game are supposed to be for the better for the citizens and constituency. In our time, the MPs and the Politicians are more into their own career and their own capital than the ones they are supposed be there for. Many of them could just been lobbyist and work for corporations instead of the chambers where they represent a district or a county.

Cartoon Politicians

When it is like this with the bottom-line is their own personal wealth instead of the moral judgement, when the words portrayed and pledges given are for fitting the times and popular judgement of the times instead of longevity of the constituency and nation. That is what is missing. So few politicians of our time is gambling their career for the common good or the care of their constituency; with that in mind the level of trust between politicians and the people are low.

The low trust is because politicians are not who supposed to be, they are either biased by the structures over them like the European Union or the Multi-National Companies who are controlling their judgement. The judgement and the laws set to regulate the actions of the Politicians are altered as they are usually the ones that set the standard and are the lawmakers in the Nations. That is why they need to be men of vision and moral capacity to create a consensus with others; this is because it is also agreed upon by the other parties and also with the other people who elected them.

Now that I have the bar; take shot and sit down. I have already black-balled a generation as we have inherited this, the parliament didn’t sit there all of sudden, as much as the books we have in our libraries with common knowledge didn’t happen to jump into the houses. All of this got created over time and with capacity and tender hesitation of what we wish for. This is because we as citizens have to take more care of the parties and politicians around us, as they are a reflection of our societies and the ground-level we all build. We cannot be bushwhacked by strangers, we have to make sure the policies and a law they creates is the ones that are accepted.

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Because a true statesmen are the ones that makes a mark on our time; the ones that are not a politician who are just popular, but will be remembered for making the decisions that maybe was hard at the time, but on the long-term making sure that the nation and constituency got better or made progress. That is why we have politicians, they are not there to be kings and queens, be lords and honorable men who think they can run us naturally. Certainly they cannot, they are there because of us; if they do not serve us and they are not useful for us.

What I miss as I see in a Statesmen, is not take the popular decisions or the one in the time, but the ones who are there now is more politicians who thinks more about polls and elections cycles, than being about the people they represent. That they are pressured by the Multi-National Companies and International Organizations who putting pressure on them as well, but they shouldn’t bend backwards for these, as they doesn’t represent Brussels or Coca-Cola, but they represent their constituency.

I want a politician I can remember for having the balls to think about how the decisions will be remembered in 20 years and if it will be setting the standard for the ones after him/her. That is a statesman, who is somebody who actually cares about the real future, not next election cycle, not only the persons own career and also the clarity of the ramifications of their acts as representatives. So with this in mind, do you feel the same or am walking alone in this tabloid world of quick headlines and quick careers; instead of building nations and being gentlemen of the board and take charge of what is left of it. Peace.

Reference:

Meriam Webster ‘statesman’ link: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/statesman

McKay, Brett & Kay – ‘The 4 Qualities of a True Statesman’ (30.01.2012) link: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/01/30/the-4-qualities-of-a-true-statesman/

Vocabulary – ‘Statesman’ link: https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/statesman

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