Uganda Opposition Winds UK Visit
Conservative vice chairman and Member of Parliament for West Suffolk, Richard Spring promised to investigate recent clashes between DP supporters and Ugandan police in which DP supporters were tear-gassed by police during peaceful demonstrations.
Ugandan opposition leaders returned home Friday after spending three weeks in
London soliciting support for their attempts to highlight human rights abuses by President Yoweri Museveniâ€™s government.
Speaking on the eve of their departure, Erias Lukwago, the Democratic Party (DP)
Member of Parliament for Kampala East and the partyâ€™ legal advisor accompanied
by Betty Nambooze, DPâ€™s National Publicity Secretary, said they had held
fruitful discussions with members of Britainâ€™s Conservative Party.
Conservative vice chairman and Member of Parliament for West Suffolk, Richard
Spring promised to investigate recent clashes between DP supporters and Ugandan
police in which DP supporters were tear-gassed by police during peaceful
demonstrations. He would also take issue with the Uganda government over police
brutality during DP rallies in Kampala, the Uganda capital.
Another British politician to offer help to Ugandaâ€™s opposition is Dominic
Grieve, Conservative MP for Beaconsfield and the partyâ€™s shadow Attorney-general. He offered to approach Britainâ€™s Scotland Yard police over itsÂ investigationÂ in the assassination of ex-Ugandan Energy Minister Dr. Andrew
Kayiira 20 years ago.
Scotland Yard was asked by the Ugandan government to investigate the killing but
the outcome of its investigation has never been revealed. Two controversial reports purporting to be the conclusion of the investigation has since been publicizedÂ by both the Uganda government and the DP; they differ, with the DP version implicating government and the Kampala regimeâ€™s version exonerating it.Â
Nambooze complained that Ugandaâ€™s opposition parties were operating in an unfair
field in which the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) has the use of
public funds while none of the other parties are allowed access to them. â€œWhile
our efforts to address our members have often been thwarted by Ugandan police at
the bequest of the NMR hierarchy, Museveni is able to hold a political rally
wherever and whenever he so wishes,â€? she lamented.
She added that a law requiring all Ugandan political parties to show the source of their funds has never been ratified by the Museveni government. â€œHe treats public funds as if they belong to him and his party,â€? the diminutive DP secretary general said.
The two are scheduled to address a political rally once they get home but
already word has been spreading that the Ugandan police is waiting for them with
teargas canisters. President Museveni has warned that he will not allow any
political party to hold rallies at the Constitution Square, scene of recent
clashes between the DP and police wielding teargas canisters and batons.
â€œThe Constitution Square and Kampala Road are â€˜farmsâ€™ for businessmen. We shall not allow anybody to hold rallies there,â€? Museveni recently told a rally celebrating International Womenâ€™s day.
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