Husband's Plea For Wife Abducted In Uganda
I appeal on behalf of my wife and on behalf of the hundreds of Ugandans who are regularly abducted and tortured by the Uganda government and harassed with trumped-up charges. I have spent several days and sleepless nights worrying about the fate of my wife.
[Husband's Public Appeal For Wife]
I am writing under immense distress regarding the abduction and continued detention of my wife Annet Namwanga, who is being held incommunicado by the Ugandan authorities. My wife was abducted by Uganda government security agents from work at the Mulago Nursing School in Kampala, on January 18, 2011.
She has since been held incommunicado and has not been produced in court as required by Uganda law. An application of writ of habeas corpus has not been honored by the Uganda government. The government has admitted, under intense public pressure, that they abducted and are holding my wife.
Uganda law requires that a person arrested for any offence must be brought before court within 48 hours.
As I write, I am not sure if my wife has been physically abused or not. I am particularly worried about the possibility of her being tortured, a practice engaged in routinely by the Uganda Government. Abduction, torture, and the widespread use of so-called "safe houses" in Uganda are fully documented by various Ugandan and international human rights organization.
My wife is a fundraiser and an activist of the Democratic Party in Uganda (DP), the oldest political party in Uganda. She was recently described by the President General of the Democratic Party and Uganda presidential candidate, Mr. Norbert Mao, as a “DP stalwart.”
I belong to the same political party as my wife. I am on the Executive Committee of Uganda Democratic Party USA (DP USA) and I am the immediate past chairman of DP USA. Prior to fleeing to the United States as a refugee from political persecution in Uganda, I was a journalist in Uganda. I have lived in the United States since 1995.
I attended Vassar and have been active in Ugandan politics. I am the US campaign manager of Norbert Mao, one of the leading presidential candidates in the February 2011 elections in Uganda.
I regularly communicate with my wife but have not been able to join her in Uganda for fear of political persecution by the Uganda government. I last communicated with my wife a few hours before her abduction. Despite appeals from family, our lawyers and political leaders the government has refused to release or produce my wife in a court of competent jurisdiction.
I have no doubt that my wife is being persecuted because of my staunch support of the democratic opposition in Uganda. Her arrest is intended to intimidate me and other opposition politicians ahead of Uganda’s presidential elections on February 18, 2011.
The President General of my party, Norbert Mao, has issued the following statement on behalf of my wife: “We condemn in the strongest terms Ms. Namwanga's illegal detention and the uncouth manner of her arrest reminiscent of Idi Amin's dark days. We demand that she should be released immediately. If there are any charges against her, then she should be produced before a competent court immediately. We are also concerned that Ms. Namwanga's arrest may be connected to her role in my campaigns and her being a spouse to an exiled dissident and strong critic of President Museveni and his regime. The timing and manner of Ms. Namwanga's arrest is clearly intended to strike terror in the hearts of opposition activists. Ms. Namwanga must have her day in court. All allegations by the state must be tested in open court. The Democratic Party will stand solidly with her and provide the legal support to ensure a vigorous defence against all charges.”
And while I make this appeal for my beloved Annet, the public must be ware that many other Ugandans have had loved ones whisked away under similar circumstances and held incommunicado.
We expect the Uganda government to bring trumped-up charges against my wife. This would be in keeping with a pattern of gross human rights abuses by the present regime—a pattern reminiscent of the behavior of all totalitarian regimes. The leader of my own party, Norbert Mao, has in the past been threatened with treason charges; the leader of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Dr. Kizza Besigye, has been charged with treason and terrorism. The leader of Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), Ambassador Olara Otunnu has been threatened with sedition and arrest.
Uganda's political scene remains volatile. The Uganda authorities have a culture of political intimidation which has resulted in the disappearance of many members of the opposition.
I appeal on behalf of my wife and on behalf of the hundreds of Ugandans who are regularly abducted and tortured by the Uganda government and harassed with trumped-up charges. I have spent several days and sleepless nights worrying about the fate of my wife. I gravely fear for my wife’s life. I also fear for the future of Uganda.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."