Museveni cautions EU envoys against interference, warns of ‘serious consequences’

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and European Union envoys at State House Entebbe on February 19, 2021/ STATE HOUSE UG

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has warned European Union envoys against involvement in matters they are not conversant with, something that could have “serious consequences”.

“By involving yourselves in matters that you don’t understand, even if you do understand, you should not get involved because this kind of misconduct can lead to many serious consequences and suffering of the people like it happened in some African countries,” President Museveni said.

President Museveni further told the envoys to always consult with government officials in case they want clarification on any issue.

He made the remarks at a meeting with EU envoys at State House Entebbe on Friday, February 19.

The envoys were led by their head of delegation, Attilio Pacifici. Others were Per Lindgarde (Sweden), William Carlos (Ireland), Rudi Veestraeten (Belgium), Jules Armand Ania Mbossou (France), Nicolaj Itejberg Peterson (Denmark), Massimiliano Mazzanti (Italy), Mathias Schauer (Germany), Karin Boven  (Netherlands) and Dr Roswitha Kremser of Austria.

In November last year, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said Uganda government should respect domestic rights and stop brutality against its citizens.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, who doubles as the European Commission Vice President, said the loss of life in violent incidents in Uganda was saddening.

“The Government must ensure the safety of all election candidates and their supporters, whatever political affiliation. Respect for democratic rights and rejection of violence are essential in wake of elections,” Borrell said in a tweet on Thursday, November 19.

Excessive use of force by security agencies has tarnished Uganda’s election – EU

At the time, 16 people had died during protests, while over 60 others had been injured.

The opposition supporters were protesting against the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.

In January the following year, Borrell said excessive use of force by law enforcement and security agencies had seriously tarnished Uganda’s electoral process.

He said the EU and other partners have noted the pre-electoral cycle had been marred by violence and difficulties faced by several opposition presidential candidates, civil society organisations, human rights defenders, electoral experts and journalists.

But on Friday, February 12, Uganda accused the European Union of meddling in its domestic affairs after the bloc’s parliament recommended sanctions over a crackdown and arrests of opponents around President Museveni’s disputed re-election.

On February 11, the EU parliament passed a resolution saying the election was not democratic, police and soldiers used excessive force, and detainees should be released.

“Asking Uganda to release suspects already before the courts of law is tantamount to undue interference with a legitimate judicial process,” government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told Reuters.

“We consider its resolution against Uganda as unbalanced and unobjective, the motive of which we are yet to establish.”

Museveni, however, promised the EU envoys to share with them a report on the investigations being carried out by security agencies following the November 2020 riots in Kampala and other urban areas where lives were lost.

He said Uganda and the EU are not adversaries and should focus on strengthening their shared goals..

“For us, we don’t see you as enemies. Remove all the diversions and concentrate on the shared goals and help one another for the prosperity of our people,” President Museveni said.

President Museveni also discussed a wide range of issues with the delegation, covering political, social and economic sectors.

Ambassador Per Lindgarde of Sweden expressed their readiness to continue supporting development programmes in Uganda.

The meeting was attended by Uganda Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and other senior government officials.

EU calls for respect of human rights in Uganda as police confirm 16 dead during protests

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