Gen. Museveni's Election Violence Condemned By Amnesty Int., Human Rights Watch and Others

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Dictator Museveni "graduating" his so-called "Crime Preventers" militia; his version of Interehamwe

[Op-Ed: Uganda Election Violence]

Several international human rights organizations have demanded that Uganda's dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni immediately disband the so-called "Crime Preventers," as well as state security forces, made up of an array of killer squads organized by his police chief Gen. Kale Kayihura, raising questions about the integrity and viability of the Feb. 18 presidential election.

This is a very important development. By official going on the record against Gen. Museveni's "Crime Preventers," these human rights groups can now refer any crimes by these militias to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Moreover, the dictator can't distance himself from the militias since he officially graduated them in ceremonies and even tweeted the photos himself.

The ICC can use Gen. Museveni's own tweets as evidence against him and Gen. Kalihura. These human rights groups are on top of things because memories of Kenya's 2007-2008 election violence are fresh.

Other specialized repression units include the Special Forces Command headed by Gen. Museveni's son Brig. Muhoozi Kaneirugaba.

The family dictatorship is finally attracting global scrutiny abroad as evidenced by the strong statement of denunciation; but also a renewed sense of determination to resist within Ugandan nation itself.

The statement by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Network Uganda (HURINET-U), Chapter Four Uganda, and Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) reads, "Crime preventers have intimidated members of the political opposition and their supporters. One person interviewed alleged that crime preventers had gone door-to-door in one village, cataloging the political affiliations of villagers to intimidate them and discourage them from voting for the political opposition. Another crime preventer – a supporter of an opposition political party – told Human Rights Watch that commanders discriminated against him and attempted to expel him from training due to his political party affiliation."

The statement adds, "A crime preventer in Fort Portal told Human Rights Watch, 'The commander told me that I should fight hard and fight the other parties. He said that we’re living in the ruling NRM era so other parties don’t need to surface.'"

The damning statement continued:  "Crime preventers are also vulnerable to being used – either paid or duped – to support or oppose particular political candidates. Crime preventers from Gulu alleged that one member of parliament instructed them to wear T-shirts with an X crossing out 'JPAM,' the initials of John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, one of the presidential candidates, and to demonstrate against him. One crime preventer in Fort Portal said that a candidate paid his colleagues, armed with sticks, to beat up and disperse his opponent’s supporters.

Crime preventers have also carried out violent arrests and extortion. Between May and October 2015, crime preventers violently beat at least 10 people with their fists and batons in separate incidents during arrests and extorted money from them, based on Amnesty International interviews with 13 victims and witnesses in Kampala and Gulu. Six of them were severely beaten by more than one crime preventer. Those responsible should be prosecuted for torture under Ugandan law covering torture by non-state actors, the groups said. A staff member at an organization that documents cases of torture registered 25 cases of people beaten by crime preventers between September 2014 and June 2015."

The human rights organizations condemning the regime's intimidation of Ugandan citizens also reads, "A 25-year-old man in Kampala told Amnesty International that in June 2015, two crime preventers broke his left hand as they beat him with wooden sticks across his head, chest and limbs when questioning him about an alleged theft. He was not subsequently arrested. 'Crime preventers are not here to prevent crime,'  he said. 'They are here to do the police’s dirty work.' One crime preventer in Gulu admitted to Human Rights Watch: 'Some of my colleagues use a lot of force arresting. There was a day we went to arrest a suspected thief. One of my colleagues just started to beat. They try to beat to kill.'"

Thank God the whole world is watching Gen. Museveni's atrocities.  If unchecked killings by these security forces and militias could dwarf the 1994 Rwandan genocide. This is because the so-called "Crime Preventers" are Gen. Museveni's version of Interehamwe.

The hope is that these international soundings, in addition to the preparation by a growing number of local Ugandan anti-genocidal forces to counter this Museveni madness, might just help to prevent national catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.

Ugandans have responded with national defiance as is being advocated by Free Uganda and other anti-regime forces, such the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) whose presidential candidate is Dr. Kizza Besigye.

It is important that even the GoForward group, led by former prime minister Amama Mbabazi has now begun to talk up the need for a systemic resistance against Gen. Museveni's evolving violence against the people of Uganda.

The resistance which the GoForward Group actualized in Ntungamo, which saw Museveni's organized assault on peaceful Ugandans totally disabled and defeated; this must be the template for national self-defense against attempts by Museveni to commit mass murder and intimidate Ugandans. Instead of calming tension Gen. Museveni declared war on civilian supporters of Mbabazi ignoring the fact that his "Crime Preventers" initiated the conflict.

In Ntungamo, a determined populace proved it cannot be enslaved forever.  There comes a time when the people lose their fear of guns, bullets and tear gas. They are no longer scared of kidnappings, killings, and all sorts of intimidation by the regime.

In Uganda that time has arrived.


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