Government has dismissed calls by the U.S. Ambassador in Uganda, Deborah Malac, regarding observance of human rights as misplaced. Government said that the rule of law will prevail and that those threatening violence and other people’s lives will be dealt with.
On Thursday, the U.S. government issued a statement calling on government to respect freedom especially following raids by police on two civil society organizations; Action Aid and Great Lakes Institute of Strategic Studies (GLISS). Police claimed they were investigating illicit transfer of funds for purposes of unlawful activities.
“The United States is deeply concerned that recent arrests and raids stifle the Ugandan people’s right to free expression and tarnish Uganda’s global image,” Ambassador Malac said in her statement.
“We are disturbed by reports of raids on NGOs. Infringements on protected rights under Uganda’s Constitution will impede the country’s development,” she added.
In a rebuttal, the spokesperson of Uganda’s government Ofwono Opondo referred to Ambassador Malac’s concerns as “misplaced”.
“While government notes her [Ambassador Malac] concerns, it is our considered view that they are misplaced because those so far summoned or held as preventive measure are well known to have been making statements over the last couple of months on public media threatening violence over what should be a civil and democratic process and debate in Parliament,” Opondo said.
He said that government won’t tolerate individuals who have been making threatening statements through the media to kill those they with who they disagree including members of their families.
“The government of Uganda through its law enforcement agencies can not sit back as misguided people especially opposition politicians and civil society leaders intimidate elected MPs and the wider public simply because they don’t hold the same views as theirs,” the government spokesperson said.
Government holds that there are stipulated laws which deem received money from undisclosed sources illegal. According to Opondo, investigation of the two NGOs is to prevent incidents of terrorism financing and money laundering.
He further stated that Uganda is committed to protecting human rights and freedoms to peacefully assemble as long as it doesn’t threaten the lives or property of those with dissenting views.