The European Union has called out Uganda’s security on the use of “disproportionate force” last week to quell protests that broke out when the police arrested presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.
The EU also demanded a full and independent investigation launched into the events of November 18 and 19, to ensure justice for victims and to avoid impunity for the perpetrators who, it argued, should be held accountable for their actions.
“Last week, Uganda witnessed rioting, chaos as well as disproportionate use of force by security services. The Government of Uganda and its institutions have the responsibility to ensure the safety, security and dignified treatment of all citizens, including electoral candidates and their supporters, in line with national laws and Uganda’s international human rights commitments,” reads a statement from the EU Delegation in Kampala.
The joint statement was issued on November 26 in Kampala, together with the diplomatic missions to Uganda of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
The EU becomes the latest international body – after the United States and the United Nations – to express concerns over the violence in Uganda, which threatens to mar the campaign period ahead of next year’s general elections.
The statement says deaths of dozens of people amidst widespread violence marred the electoral campaign on November 18 and 19.
The death toll from the two-day battle between security forces and Mr Kyagulanyi’s supporters stands at 50 people, including bystanders not involved in the riots that swept Kampala and neighbouring towns, Ugandan police have since confirmed.
“We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims, who reportedly include innocent bystanders,” the EU said.
It adds that as candidates and election monitors move forward in the electoral process, all political parties and electoral candidates should call upon their supporters to refrain from violence and inflammatory language, and to take firm action to end any provocation or incitement to violence or any unlawful action.
Coming in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU cautioned all political parties, candidates and their supporters to ensure the full implementation of the standard operating procedures and the relevant regulations designed to curb the spread of the virus.