Exactly a month after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s reportedly questionable election win, putting him in his 36th year of his presidency, human rights abuses abound as supporters of opposition party National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, a.k.a. Bobi Wine, have allegedly been kidnapped, killed, harassed or have simply chosen to go into hiding.
Civilians, politicians and even soldiers and celebrities have been subjected to ongoing abuse. Harrowing reports of the kidnappings, from those released after having been abducted from the streets in broad daylight or from their homes in the middle of the night, have come to light. No dissident is spared.
Well known boxer Joseph Lubega, captain of the Ugandan team which took part in the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, has recently been released after a traumatic ordeal being held captive for a month. On 29 December 2020, he was drugged and beaten, and after he blacked out he was taken to an undisclosed location. He told The Observer that his physical pain pales in comparison to the psychological trauma he is trying to overcome.
Bobi Wine gives message of hope to his supporters on his birthday
On Friday 12 February 2021, Bobi Wine’s 39th Birthday, he took to social media to thank his supporters for their continued support under extremely dangerous and difficult circumstances. He wrote “I dedicate the next phase of my life to continue fighting these injustices. Aluta continua. #WeAreRemovingADictator“.
Notably, many of his supporters refer to him as their president.
On the lack of involvement of the African Union, particularly under the watch of South African President Cyri Ramaphosa, DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Darren Bergman stated the following:
“The global destruction occasioned by Covid-19 created an opportunity for African governments in fragile democracies to clamp down on dissent and undermine electoral processes in order to extend their hold on power. During this time, Ramaphosa chose to distance himself from these infractions and even went ahead to rubber stamp sham elections as free and fair…
The AU has long been seen as an organisation which turns a blind eye on human rights abuses committed by many African leaders, unfortunately, that trend continued under President Ramaphosa’s tenure. Ramaphosa missed the opportunity to advance democratic change in Africa despite being uniquely positioned to do so.”