U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, issued the following statement Monday after last week’s confrontation between police and supporters of Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago in Uganda’s capital city Kampala.
Ugandan security forces dispersed a crowd gathered to hear Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago who was scheduled to appear before a tribunal investigating his alleged abuse of office, firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd and reportedly killing one.
Mayor Lukwago and former presidential aspirant and FDC strongman, Kizza Besigye, were briefly detained.
Below is Senator Coons’ statement;
“Respect for freedom of expression and political dissent is a cornerstone of a democratic society. The violent suppression of speech at Thursday’s rally in Kampala is just the most recent example in a long line of troubling behavior, silencing voices of dissent and opposition. While I recognize and value Uganda’s leadership in combatting terrorism and promoting stability in the region, I am increasingly concerned about the trajectory of Uganda’s democracy. The government of Uganda should immediately cease its assault on free expression and hold its security forces accountable to international human rights norms. The Obama Administration should also take a strong stance against this trend ahead of the President’s trip to sub-Saharan Africa later this week.”