Uganda: Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago's Lawyer Sees Eventual Fall of Gen. Museveni As Resistance Is Upped On Dictatorship
Mayor Lukwago -- popular effective mobilizer against Gen. Museveni
A lawyer for Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago, reportedly just released on bail, believes Gen. Yoweri Museveni can be ousted if domestic resistance to his 27 years rule is supported by the international community.
The U.K. and several EU countries have cut off aid due to rampant corruption and as a result the regime has imposed Stalin-era type regulations including the banning of peaceful protests through a law called Public Order Management Bill (POMB).
The right of peaceful assemblage is universal and countries that support the rule of law all over the world should denounce the law Lukwago's supporters say. The mayor was arrested Monday before he could leave his home to join peaceful protests.
The regime also recently engineered a scheme that had him impeached on concocted allegations in order to remove the powerful mayor, who is one of the most effective mobilizers against Gen. Museveni's despotism, from office.
“We need all the support to pile pressure on the Ugandan tyrant to leave Kampala voters alone,” says Medard Lubega Segona, a lawyer for Lukwago, just after securing a police bond for his release.
Lukwago had been spirited away by police Monday, November 18, on unknown charges. Mr. Segona urged Ugandans and all opposition groups to unite and resist the dictatorship.
The mayor, elected January 14, 2011, was arrested before he could attend a public rally Monday, in which he had scheduled to up-date Kampala voters about the "tribunal" to impeach him. The "tribunal" was headed by a High court judge, Catherine Bamugemereire, and heard a petition by the Kampala City Council; it found the mayor "guilty."
The opposition believes that Gen. Museveni wants to take charge over Kampala city; voters there have resoundingly rejected him in the last several elections he's rigged to retain power.
“To fellow Ugandans," Segona says, "we must stand up to be counted and to reclaim our heritage and determine our destiny.”
“I think if we stand together we have the capacity to resist repression,” he adds.
“We just need unity, the International community should support our cause,” says Mr. Segona, adding that: “We intend not to hurt our relations but to better them in appreciation. Human rights have no borders.”
Over the past years, Gen. Museveni has used the army and police to intimidate the opposition as his foreign support wanes. In a major editorial, The Economist magazine recently joined several major global publications that have published editorials about the general's refusal to yield power.
The regime earned another international black-eye recently when the vicious militia it sponsored in DR Congo called M23 was routed and destroyed by Congo's army backed by soldiers from Tanzania, South Africa and Burundi under the UN umbrella. It's fighters and commanders fled to Uganda for sanctuary.
In Kampala, the regime has never recovered from mass arrests starting in July 2008. Buganda Kingdom ministers and royalists, who were then perceived to be the ringleaders in Mengo, were arrested and take through psychologically tortures to deter them from sensitizing the people.
Those arrested included Medard Segona himself in addition to: Charles Peter Muyiga, now Buganda Kingdom Prime Minister; and Betty Nambooze. As in Lukwago's case this week, they were taken to different police cells in various regions of the country and held for a week. At the time they were sensitizing people ahead of then then pending Land Amendment Bill.
Then in September 2009 after Gen. Museveni blocked the Buganda king, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi from traveling to parts of the kingdom, the general's security forces mowed down 40 people people during ensuing protests.
The strong arm tactics applies to the political opposition as well as shown by the arrest of Lukwago, and, separately of Dr. Kizza Besigye, the major flagbearer of opposition against the regime.
Mr. Segona, who is also Member of Parliament for Busiro, confirms that Lukwago has since been released as of this interview.
“During this period of detention, he could not be accessed by anyone,” said the lawyer, adding that: “Police attempted to force an interrogation in relation to 4GC but he resisted making any statement.”
4GC refers to For God and My Country, an organization that has been mobilizing Ugandans to protest against the dictatorial regime. A week ago, the government-commissioned tribunal convicted Lukwago for alleged "incompetence" and "misconduct" which the opposition sees as a naked attempt to overthrow the popular mayor who is no stranger to clashes with Gen. Museveni, who has ordered his arrest several times in the past.