Buganda Deplores Officials’ Arrests

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The reason given for this unusually cruel and degrading action is to purportedly charge the individuals in the area where the crimes were allegedly committed.

[Africa News Update]

 


The Kingdom of Buganda has set up the Buganda Emergency Response Committee to provide a reference point on matters regarding the arrest of members and an official of the Buganda Government.


As an interim measure pending an emergency Cabinet Meeting tomorrow (July 21, 2008), the following are designated as spokespersons for the Kingdom of Buganda:


1. Owek. Daudi Mpanga, Minister of State for Research Tel: 0772 700660
2. Owek. Mathias Mpuuga, Minister of State for Youth Tel: 0772 418504


The Current Situation: Two Ministers of the Buganda Government and the Chairperson of Buganda’s Central Civic Education Committee were arrested by plain clothed security operatives on Friday July 18th 2008.


The individuals are: 1. Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga (Minister of Information and Cabinet and Lukiiko Affairs, Buganda Government); 2. Owek. Medard Lubega (Minister of State for Information, Buganda Government); and 3. Omuk. Betty Nambooze Bakireke (CCEC, Buganda Government).


The arrests came on the day of the successful inaugural Buganda Conference, held at Hotel Africana. The Buganda Government has not yet been officially informed of the charges being preferred against the detainees but according to a statement attributed to the Inspector General of Police, Major General Kale Kayihura, the charges are:
1. Promoting sectarianism; 2. Inciting violence; 3. Sedition; and 4. Terrorism.


We have reliable information that the detainees have been transferred to Bundibugyo, Ibanda and Kyenjojo, respectively. The reason given for this unusually cruel and degrading action is to purportedly charge the individuals in the area where the crimes were allegedly committed. However it is clear that the true intention must be to continue to deny the detainees their rights to bail, access to next of kin, and access to legal representation.


We wish to state unequivocally that the charges are a complete fabrication and point directly to a hidden agenda of intimidation and humiliation of the people of Buganda. These people are being charged for no reason other than that they are Baganda who are speaking out on the issues that are of concern to the people of Buganda.

They are therefore nothing more than Prisoners of Conscience, detained because of their unwavering promotion of the culture, cultural institutions, language and traditions of the Baganda.


Baganda and the people of Uganda will recall that our history of political and constitutional instability as well as confrontation with forces of tyranny, oppression and exploitation began with unnecessarily heavy-handed and illegal actions taken by the Central Government against the Kingdom of Buganda.


The escalation we see today brings back unhappy memories of times when people were sent into internal exile or simply disappeared because of their cultural identity or their political beliefs.


Immediate Actions: 1. The Katikiro Owekitibwa John Baptist Walusimbi has been and is actively engaged in negotiations with senior members of Government and the security services to try and secure the release of the detainees and is keeping the Ssabassajja Kabaka fully informed;


2. An emergency Cabinet meeting has been called for 9:00am 21st July 2008 to discuss the situation and resolve on the way forward;


3. A co-ordination desk will be established at Bulange, Mengo, to provide timely and accurate information as the situation unfolds however, in the interim co-ordination and information shall be provided by the above named designated spokespersons; and 4. Legal representation is being arranged for the detainees by the Kingdom in conjunction with the Uganda Law Society.


The Detainees Physical Wellbeing and Welfare: The Kingdom of Buganda and the families of the detainees will do their best to ensure that the detainees have access to food, clothing and medical care, it should not be in any doubt that responsibility for the physical wellbeing and welfare of the detainees rests squarely with the Government of Uganda.


Call to Action: We call upon all Ugandans, Religious Bodies as well as human rights and civil society organizations to join the Kingdom of Buganda in denouncing this heavy-handed and illegal action and to engage the Government of Uganda to abide by the Constitution and to cease and desist from the needless persecution of people who are engaged in lawful and democratic debate.


OWEK. APOLLO MAKUBUYA
Attorney General and Minister for Research/
Chairperson Buganda Emergency Response Committee
July 20, 2008


Editor’s Note To Readers: Buganda is a hereditary kingdom within the Republic of Uganda


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