IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
[Editorial: Open Letter]
To the Board of Governors.
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is considering Uganda’s request for a $900 million loan.
1. The militaristic regime of Gen. Yoweri Museveni is illegitimate and is not authorized to make a loan application from the IMF, its sister organization the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), and any other financial institution or government. Gen. Museveni has no authority to encumber the current citizens of Ugandans and future generations with an additional $900 million debt burden to add upon the current over $14 billion foreign debt.
Additionally $300 million loaned to Uganda in 2020 by the World Bank to combat the Covid-19 pandemic was reportedly diverted to a classified account which supports the armed forces who were involved in the rigged presidential election. As a result of the diversion the Covid-19 pandemic is now out of control. The Guardian reported corruption even in vaccine distributions. Any effort to help Ugandans fight the pandemic must be channeled through the WHO not through another massive loan to a corrupt regime that will divert the funds.
2. The Board must be aware of the blatantly rigged presidential election of January 14, 2021 and the killings of civilians who were, or perceived to be, supporters of the opposition parties by Ugandan state security agencies.
3. Gen. Museveni’s regime so undermined the process that on April 16, 2021 the U.S. in a statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the elections were “neither free, nor fair.” This unambiguous position means the U.S., the Fund’s major shareholder, does not consider Gen. Museveni’s militaristic regime as the legitimate administration with authority to encumber Uganda with loan obligations.
The International community cannot have two standards of confronting violent military juntas, firmly repudiating it and working to restore the rule of law in Myanmar while enabling dictatorship in Uganda.
4. Secretary Blinken in the April 16 statement announced that Ugandan officials responsible for the violence that preceded, accompanied, and followed the election had been placed under visa restrictions. Even though the names of the offending officials were sealed, it is obvious that the atrocities could only have been sanctioned by Gen. Museveni. The atrocities were carried out, and continue to be committed, by the Special Forces Command (SFC) which reports to Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who is Gen. Museveni’s son. While the U.S. is considering such major sanctions how would it look if the IMF were to approve a $900 million loan to the Museveni-Muhoozi junta?
5. Similarly the EU Parliament in a statement on February 11, 2021 concluded the elections were not free and fair and voted overwhelmingly 632 to 15 that member states impose Magnitsky sanctions on the Ugandan authorities for their role in the political violence and the election rigging.
6. The crimes against unarmed civilians intensified after the massacre of more than 100 people on November 18 and 19, 2020. The civilians had been protesting the arrest of leading presidential candidate and Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi (a.k.a. Bobi Wine) while campaigning. The regime itself admitted to killing 54. Attorneys representing opposition leaders and victims of the atrocities have submitted briefs to the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling for investigations. The crimes were well documented by international media. A BBC special report entitled “Three Killings in Kampala” on May 30, 2021 focused on some of the brutal killings in Kampala, the capital.
7. The Board must be aware of the ongoing atrocities, including kidnappings, torture and killings, by security forces under the control of Gen. Museveni as commander in chief and his son Gen. Kaenerugaba as operational commander. These crimes have been covered in several accounts by international media including: the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Al Jazeera, and the BBC.
8. The Board has a primary fiduciary obligation to all shareholders. The Board must be aware of involvement in corruption of the highest levels of authority in Uganda including Gen. Museveni himself. On December 5, 2018 Chi Ping Patrick Ho, a Chinese national was convicted by a U.S. Federal Court of bribing Gen. Museveni and his Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa $1 million, and sentenced to three years imprisonment. The details are outlined in a press release by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Fund must not be seen as abetting, or turning a blind eye to corruption by the Ugandan leadership.
9. In a letter to Senator Chris Coons dated December 22, 2020 the New York Bar Association raised questions about a $300 million World Bank loan to Uganda that was ostensibly intended to ameliorate the crisis resulting from the Covid19 pandemic after it appeared that the funds may have been diverted to a classified budget account which goes to the military, the police, and Gen. Museveni’s office. The New York Bar asked for an investigation by the U.S.
10. In addition to President Joe Biden’s administration, international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have condemned the ongoing campaign of abductions, torture, and killings of civilians by the armed forces in Uganda. The Board must not turn a blind eye to gross violations of human rights in Uganda.
For all of the reasons outlined, we demand that the Board reject the $900 million loan request by Gen. Museveni’s illegitimate regime.
Here is the Petition Link.
Note Ugandans and friends of Uganda will hold a protest outside the offices of the IMF on June 25, 2021 at 10AM. Meet at 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 2009 then march to IMF headquarters 700 19th Street, NW, DC 20431.
Below are photos of some of Gen. Museveni’s victims–his crimes are enabled by millions of dollars in external financing such as the IMF proposed $900 million loan.
Victim Masudi Luzige. Shot in the face by Museveni’s security forces.