With 61 percent, President Yoweri Museveni won a fifth electoral term, following his victory in the February 2016 general election.
The president was sworn in on May 12, 2016 and in July 2016 he christened his fifth term as Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo. This largely meant it was a term with a firm focus on serious work and no playing about in governance matters.
It could also be interpreted that the rule of law would be observed. Now Makerere University School of Law’s Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) has conducted a research auditing the observance of human rights in the era of Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo.
In its report to be launched on February 13, by Constitutional court Justice Kenneth Kakuru, the investigations focused on cases of extrajudicial killings, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests, illegal detention as well as violation of the right to fair hearing, freedom of association and assembly, right to culture and religion and orders of habeas corpus, among others.
HURIPEC based its findings on interviews of 359 people, including victims of violence, relatives of affected people, eyewitnesses to the occurrences, as well as documents such as photographs, court records, police bonds and charge sheets.
Although President Museveni in 1986 and subsequent years, promised to observe human rights, the report indicates that in the era of Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo, violations of selected civil and political rights have continued to occur.
“There is a connection across the country of the violations and the perpetrators mainly cited were Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and Uganda Wildlife Authority, particularly arbitrary arrest and illegal detentions, torture as well as extrajudicial killings,” part of the reports says.
Further, the report says that violation of the rights was largely influenced by disregard for the rule of law in the name of protecting national security, and sidelining the institutions such as police mandated to maintain law and order. The report adds that a total of 133 cases of extrajudicial killings were recorded in 36 districts; 48 in 2016, 34 in 2017 and 51 in 2018.
“These figures are not inclusive of the over 150 people, including children executed on November 26 and 27, 2016 during the attack on the Rwenzururu palace in Kasese.
This report is poking holes in President Museveni’s inaugural speech of 1986 in which he promised Ugandans that his government was not a mere change of guards but rather a fundamental change.
By this speech, President Museveni had indicated to Ugandans that his government would be different from his predecessors who were involved in violation of human rights and other heinous acts such extrajudicial killings by state agencies. The report will be officially launched on February 13, 2019 at Imperial Royale hotel, Kampala.