The European Parliament debate on the chaos that ensued in Arua and the subsequent arrest and alleged torture of suspects, was based on rumors picked from social media, the Government Spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo has said.
His statement follows a resolution by the European Union Parliament on Friday, challenging the president and the government of Uganda to respect the independence of the country’s parliament as an institution and the independence of the mandate of its members and ensure that all members of parliament can freely pursue their elected mandate.
During the debate held on Friday, the European Union Parliament High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini said allegations of torture of 33 people including four members of parliament are serious and perpetrator must be prosecuted.
Mogherini told the European Union Parliament that security forces have a duty to respect human rights and that Ugandans deserve peace and a right to peacefully express their political opinions.
She added that EU representatives in Uganda visited Kyadondo East legislator Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine during incarceration at Makindye Military Barracks and Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake who was then admitted at Rubaga Hospital and found that the two legislators had several wounds and needed comprehensive medical treatment.
But this morning Opondo told journalists that the European Union parliamentarians have chosen to remove any “veil of pretense about where they stand when judging players in Uganda’s politics.”
In the same resolution, the EU parliament asked the government to “drop what appear to be trumped-up charges against Bobi Wine and to stop the crackdown against opposition politicians and supporters,” as well as launching an “effective, impartial and independent investigation into the killing of Yasin Kawuma (Bobi Wine’s driver) and the reports of deaths and excessive use of force during the protests.”
But Opondo said Uganda hasn’t formally received the EU parliament resolutions. The motion in EU parliament and subsequent resolution, Opondo argued were “unfair, unsubstantiated and not objective.”
He said the EU fell below the bar when they failed to formally ask for a response from Uganda before the debate.
Opondo further said the government is dismayed by EU’s call to drop the charges against those who were arrested in Arua instead of calling for an impartial and speedy hearing. He said what transpired in EU parliament was a premeditated attempt to hijack and subvert Uganda’s institutions.
The resolution, Opondo said government believes was debated and passed at the instigation of local and international NGOs as well as some lawyers recently hired in London and Washington. The lawyer that Opondo was referring to is; Robert Amsterdam who ushered Bobi Wine on the international scene and has been calling for sanctions against Uganda’s top leaders over torture and abuse of human rights.
Opondo argued that the nature of the debate and final resolution showed glaring signs of active coaching and prepared short notes to read.