Uganda’s Troubled Commonwealth Plans

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Uganda’s plans to host the Commonwealth is experiencing a bumpy ride, with British lawmakers now questioning allegations of human rights abuse in the East African country.

After a visiting delegation from an opposition party in Uganda, the Democratic Party (DP), showed videotapes of police violently breaking up peaceful pro-democracy rallies, Tory Shadow Attorney General, Dominic Grieve (MP for Beaconsfield) was stunned and wanted to know why the videos had not been broadcast by U.K. media outlets.

Last week, Rabaab Fatima, the official who monitors human rights at the Commonwealth headquarters in London expressed “shock” when she was shown the same videotapes.

Separately, Grieve has asked Scotland Yard to release the definitive official copy of its investigation 20 years ago of a prominent Ugandan politician, Dr. Andrew Kayiira. To deflect suspicion that his government played a role in Kayiira’s murder, Uganda government of President Yoweri Museveni invited The Yard to help with the probe. Yet, the government never released the Yard’s report.

Things came to a boil recently when The Daily Monitor published a version of the Yard’s report –made available by the DP—that implicated Ugandan soldiers in the killing—The New Vision, Uganda government’s newspaper, published a second version which it said it obtained from the Yard, exonerating the government.

Uganda government accused the DP of supplying The Monitor with a forgery and DP officials were summoned for police questioning.

“Since the Government of Uganda publicized a murder report, Scotland Yard was relieved of the duty to confidentiality and should therefore come out clearly on this matter,” Tory MP Grieve told the DP delegation, according to people present at the meeting.

The MP also said he will demand an explanation about the report from
the U.K. Home Office and from British Metropolitan Police.

Separately, the DP delegation has met Tory Shadow Minister for Trade and Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Clifton Brown (MP for Cotswold); Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell (MP for Sutton Coldfield); and the opposition Chief Whip, Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin (MP for West Derbyshire).

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