Uganda adopting torture as misrule

Uganda adopting torture as misrule

A picture showing how Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was tortured while in Uganda

The United Nations has tightened its nut on Uganda’s gross violations on human rights abuse against its citizenry as reported by Daily Monitor on May 5, 2021. The gross violations are frightening and its categorically clear that the regime has adopted torture as a form or path of governance that was outlawed in the 19th century.

Multiple reports have been filed by the UN about Uganda’s misconduct on abductions, torture, rape, harassment, ill treatment, arbitrary arrests, intimidation to suppress political opposition and prolonged incommunicado detention. Perpetual violations in form of torture have been witnessed most recently being satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija who has since fled to exile in Germany.

It is reported by the newspaper that Uganda’s permanent mission to UN in New York while appearing and presenting the report to the world’s body claimed that government resolved disputes with key opposition players in the country. The mission to New York claimed that government compensated victims of torture and held violators accountable.

Government falsely claimed that among many resolved disputes are the Forum for Democratic Change party president Hon. Patrick Amuriat Oboi, Kampala lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and various families of the Kasese victims of state massacre. Government’s blatant impunity to report lies to United Nation’s world body that it compensated the victims of torture is mockery, unfair and unjust to its citizenry and that calls for action.

Secrets Known is fretful and shares its displeasures with tortured victims who have failed to access justice and their compensation for heinous acts against them. It is very wretched to note that on top of violations that Uganda enacted in the Anti- Torture Act under which perpetrators whether security officers or not, are held personally liable.

Under the Act, the provisions of penalties to perpetrators of torture are clear but this has obviously remained on paper. The UN recognized the law as progressive, but has raised questions about implementation of its provision, leading to growing cases of grotesque abuses.

Uganda and many more elected authoritarian regimes remain prevalent in Africa’s democracies since post- African independence. Unlike full authoritarian regimes that were predominant from 1960’s to 1980’s, cotemporally there is a new form of competitive or electoral authoritarian that is characterised by constitutional channels allowing opposition groups to compete with the executive power in African democracies.

Unlike in the 1970’s, Uganda holds periodic shambolic elections allowing opposition parties to compete openly and regularly. Elections are characterised by competition that is real but unfair because the incumbent party and the opposition do not share the same advantages.

An unlevelled political playing field, coercive forces upon opposition by security organs of state and human rights violations such as brutal arrests are always part and parcel of the country’s electoral politics which is considered a syndrome of electoral authoritarianism.

Regardless of the multiparty dispensation and political competition which is institutionalized in Uganda, the incumbent president has entrenched himself and his party’s position through dominating the legislature. The legislature has been captured and not condemned torture with actions.

Entrenchment of the ruling party, extension of the presidential term and age limits summarizes the electoral authoritarian nature of Uganda’s politics with accrues of human rights violations. Elections are characterized by security forces-led violence against opposition party supporters, candidates and journalists where gross violations of human rights abuses are the order of the day making the quality of electoral democracy in Uganda disheartening and sickening.

There is a need for a total overhaul of functionality of state institutions for democracy to flourish. State institutions such as police and the army need to be put to order and account for their actions against humanity. Representative government through effective and efficient systems; respect of the rule of law; regular, transparent, free and fair periodic elections; separation of powers; effective citizen participation and corruption-free governance is the desired form of governance in 21st  century politics.

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