The Ugandan government has described as “hastily issued” and “misplaced”, U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac’s concerns over freedom of expression in Uganda as NRM plans to scrap the presidential age limit
Ofwono Opondo, the executive director of Media Centre in a statement issued on Thursday said that while government “value diplomatic relations with all the countries of the world, Uganda is not very keen to take unqualified lectures from foreign agents.”
“The government through its law enforcement agencies cannot sit back as misguided people especially opposition politicians and civil society leaders intimidate elected Members of Parliament and the wider public simply because they don’t hold the same views as theirs on any matter,” Mr Opondo, noted in a statement.
The US embassy in Kampala, on Thursday morning, issued statement in which Ambassador Malac decried the security crackdown and raids on the NGOs, which she said risked “tarnishing” Uganda’s image globally.
“Infringements on protected rights under Uganda’s Constitution will impede the country’s development. We call on the government of Uganda to guarantee all its citizens freedom of speech, expression, and assembly, without fear of intimidation,” the embassy statement further indicated.
Mr Opondo further stated that “government will spare no effort in promptly dealing with and neutralizing criminal minded people including political leaders who think they enjoy the misguided protection from some foreign missions.”
“Only Ugandans through their government and elected representatives know and shall decide how best they want to be governed and by whom.”
Security forces on Thursday rounded up several activists and opposition politicians opposed to the ongoing machinations by the ruling NRM party to amend the Constitution to remover Article 102 (b) which bars President Museveni, in power for 31 years now, from running again in 2021. He will be 76 then.
Mr Opondo said that while the government “notes with concern” the issues raised by Ambassador Malac, “it is our considered view that they are misplaced because those so far summoned or held as a preventive measure are well-known to have been making statements over the last couple of months on various public media threatening violence over what should otherwise be a civil and democratic process.”
Only Ugandans through their government and elected representatives know and shall decide how best they want to be governed and by whom, he added.