Urges Queen Against Uganda Travel

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The petition calling for the Queen to cancel her trip was sent by G-6, the grouping representing Uganda’s major opposition parties.

COMMONWEALTH TURMOIL


Uganda opposition leaders have petitioned Queen Elizabeth II against traveling to the East African country this fall, putting more pressure on demands for a venue switch for the November Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
British media last month quoted security officials recommending that the Queen not travel there. Separately, 14 members of the British Parliament have joined five others who earlier this week called on Prime Minister Tony Blair to pressure Uganda into releasing illegal political detainees.

Analysts believe if Blair can’t patch the rupture with Kampala, leading candidates to host the Summit are South Africa and Canada. Foreign and Commonwealth office sources tell The Black Star News that Blair wan't to avoid the issue until he steps down from office and have Gordon Brown, who is expected to succeed him, handle the matter.

Joining in the call for the release of the so-called People’s Redemption Army (PRA) suspects in Uganda are: David Taylor (Labor MP for North West Leicestershire), Dai Davies (Independent MP for Blaenau Gwent), Frank Cook (Labor MP for Stockton North), Derek Wyatt (Labor MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey), Peter Bottomley former Minister of  State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Conservative MP for Worthing West), Dr. Brian Iddon (Bolton South East), Martin Caton (Labor MP for Gower), Joan Humble (Labor MP for Blackpool North and Fleetwood), Ann Cryer (Labor MP for Keighley) Paul Holmes (Liberal Democrat MP for Chesterfield & Chesterfield)
Mark Lazarowicz (MP, Edinburgh North & Leith), Jeremy Corbyn (Labor Member of Parliament for Islington North), Social Democratic and Labor Party’s Dr. Alasdair McDonnell ((MP for Belfast South); and, Liberal Democrat’s Andrew George (MP for St. Ive).

They join the following five British lawmakers who first called on the Blair government to act on behalf of Uganda’s illegal detainees: David Drew (Labor and Co-operative Party MP for Stroud), Lynne Jones (she is a Labor MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak), Labor’s Graham Stringer (MP for Manchester Blackley), Liberal Democrat’s Bob Russell (MP for Colchester); and Labor’s David Taylor (MP for North West Leicestershire spearheaded the crusade). The PRA suspects, held shortly before Uganda’s last presidential election, included Dr. Kizza Besigye, who heads the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) opposition party. They were accused of plotting to topple the government; critics contend a desperate regime had feared defeat in the 2006 presidential election.

The UK and other donors help underwrite half of the East African country’s budget. The petition calling for the Queen to cancel her trip was sent by G-6, the grouping representing Uganda’s major opposition parties. Deteriorating political conditions “don’t only affect the safety of the Queen but also the lives of millions and millions of innocent Ugandans,� the petition reads in part.

“The current Uganda of 2007 where there is open torturing and oppressing of people by government’s security agencies in public, poisoning of high profile government official, army invasion on High Courts, imprisonment opposition MPs, constant government intimidation against political opponents to name but a few,� reads the petition, adding; “If the Commonwealth meeting must only be held in Uganda, or if it cant be postponed to safer time and if the safety of all Commonwealth heads of state and ordinary Ugandans is paramount, this year is definitely a wrong one.�

The letter warned that the Queen could be walking straight into an uprising in Uganda; it was sent by Dr. Rashid Kasaato and Prince Dickson Wasajja, G-6 officials.


Miwambo reports for The Black Star News from London.


 
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