Uganda: Concern  after alleged election abductions 

Uganda: Concern  after alleged election abductions 

Uganda: Concern  after alleged election abductions 

/ POLITIQUE / Wednesday, 21 April 2021 09:02

By Jean Bosco Kabakura   

A series of disappearances linked to January’s election have raised alarm among members of the opposition and the families of those kidnapped. 

Distress is rising in Uganda over the alleged forced disappearances of dissidents across the country following January general election. 

Members of the opposition party, the National Unity Platform (NUP)  claim they have been especially targeted. NUP candidate Bob Wine was defeated in the January general election by the unavoidable  President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni winning 58.64% of the vote to triumphantly win his sixth term in office after 35 years of rule. 

Mr/ Wine has challenged the outcome of the elections in court, accusing President Museveni of electoral fraud. 

Plain-clothed members of Uganda's defense forces have been blamed for the abductions, most of which took place in the night. 

In an address to his followers from his home over the weekend, Bob Wine expected that over 2500 NUP party members had been taken by government agents. 

Ugandan authorities, on the contrary,  say that only 31 NUP members have been arrested on suspicion of preparing an uprise. 

"All those detained will be examined, and those suspected of being part of a plan to uprise against the Government will be charged in courts of law," police spokesman Fred Enanga said in a press conference. 

The relatives of those kidnapped say that the people captured were forced into vehicles and driven away. 

A 50-year-old mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, says her son was abducted to an unknown  location. In an interview with “Oeil d’Humanite”, she implores President Museveni to release those who have been confined. 

She said: "Who will this regime lead if our children are imprisoned," she said. "We have not been able to trace them . …..” Dear President, when you take your oath and ask the clergy to pray for you, how will they bless you when our children are missing? Have pity on us because you are a parent, too." 

The Executive Director of the Uganda-based Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Livingstone Sewanyana, says Museveni's government should swiftly bring those arrested before the courts of law in accordance with the country's constitution, pointing to a worrying resurgence of violent intimidation in the past. 

"The act of abductions, kidnappings and enforced disappearance is a relic of dictatorship," Sewanyana told the press. 

He added “This must be rooted out. Those considered responsible must be punished." 

Museveni, sworn in as President in 1986, pledged to stand down four years later, but he never did. 

In a multi-party election in 1996, he re-emerged as president and went on to stifle opposition. 

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