Photos: YouTube Screenshots\Facebook
President Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi, (Bobi Wine, middle) in the company of NUP Diaspora leaders, Professor Milton Alimadi, (far right) and Civil Rights Icon Dr. Ron Daniels, (between Wine and Allimadi) convened a meeting at the office of Congressman Gregory Meeks. Congressman Meeks serves as the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, holds a senior position on the House Committee on Financial Services, including the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy. He is also a distinguished member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
As a collective of individuals dedicated to advocating for democracy and empowerment in Africa, we consider fostering a robust relationship with the African American community and its leadership as paramount. Such a connection is instrumental in influencing U.S. foreign policy towards Uganda and the African continent as a whole.
The meeting began with a reflection on the historical significance of the African American community’s involvement in Africa’s decolonization and their tireless efforts against discrimination and apartheid. The struggle for civil rights remains ongoing, and we stand in solidarity with the aspirations of the African American community in the United States.
During the meeting, the following key points were discussed:
Congressional Action: We called for congressional hearings on Uganda to address the human rights situation, conflicts in Eastern Congo and Sudan, the refugee crisis, and President Museveni’s role in regional conflicts. Additionally, we emphasized the need for Congress to scrutinize military aid to ensure it is not used to oppress Ugandan citizens.
Museveni’s Utilization of Ugandan Troops: The meeting highlighted concerns about President Museveni’s strategy of using Ugandan troops as mercenaries, taking advantage of the fight against terrorism. This approach has been employed to silence the voices of human rights advocates under the guise of national security.
Human Rights Violations: The systematic violation of human rights, which includes the erosion of civil liberties, pervasive corruption in foreign aid and loans, and the recurring instances of election violence and manipulation, was identified as a matter of grave concern. Such violations gravely undermine democracy, the rule of law, and the fundamental rights of the Ugandan populace.
Political Prisoners and Military Trials: We raised the issue of unjust detentions in Uganda without trial, including political prisoners like Olivia Lutaaya. The practice of trying civilians in military courts was strongly condemned.
Uganda’s Role in Regional Conflicts: There was a shared consensus on the need to hold those responsible for regional instability accountable and not reward President Museveni for his role in regional conflicts.
When discussing the role of Congress in shaping U.S. foreign policy towards Uganda, it was emphasized that Congress can shape public opinion through public hearings and investigations. Congress also wields the power of the purse to ensure dictatorships are not financially supported. Furthermore, Congress can enact legislation, provide oversight, allocate funding, engage in diplomacy, and build partnerships with international organizations.
It’s crucial to underscore that while external actors like the United States can play a supporting role, it is ultimately the responsibility of the people of Uganda to determine their political future. The National Unity Platform (NUP) remains committed to peaceful and democratic change in Uganda, and we recognize the vital role of the international community in realizing this aspiration.
President Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi and the NUP Diaspora Leadership called upon the United States to prioritize a series of recommendations and take decisive actions to bolster democracy and safeguard human rights in Uganda.
NUP Diaspora Team Leader