A delegation of European Union Ambassadors in Uganda led by Mr. Jan Sadek and his deputy Ralph Pine have shunned the joint press conference that was organised by the National Unity Platform (NUP) at Makerere-Kavule on Bombo Road on Friday, May 5th.
The EU envoys rejected holding the much-publicized joint press conference that was organized by NUP leader Bobiwine on the grounds that the allegations made were false and intended to tannish the government’s image and compromise their diplomatic status.
Sources within NUP have disclosed that the EU delegation, composed of Ambassadors from Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria, France, and Denmark, held a meeting with the leadership of NUP in the presence of party president Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, party secretary Louis Rubongoya, Fred Nyanzi, Flavia Kalule, Anne Mugisha, Francis Zaake, Ali Bukenya, and John Baptist Nambeshe.
The meeting follows NUP’s allegations of infringement of human rights and the parading of torture victims during the Human Rights Conference in Nairobi to solicit funds from the funders to support the alleged torture victims.
A source in NUP who preferred anonymity revealed that after an enclosed two-hour meeting between NUP leaders and EU envoys, the delegates rejected holding a joint press conference because the issues NUP raised were incompatible with their diplomatic status.
According to the source, the EU delegation trashed NUP’s report on government abductions and that people were being tortured while others were still imprisoned. They also accused Bobi Wine of parading accident and teargas canister victims before human rights activists in Nairobi last year as torture victims.
In December 2022, Moses Simbwa, a resident of Jinja City who got involved in a motor accident and sustained severe injuries in 2021, was among the people paraded by NUP leaders before Human Rights’ funders as a torture victim during a meeting in Kenya.
Richard Ssebuganda, a medical student at Makerere University who lost his fingers to a teargas canister explosion during the “open for all” protest as he tried to throw it back at the police, was also among the alleged torture victims paraded.
Another recent case is that of Eric Mwesigwa, who was recently paraded before the media by NUP as an alleged torture victim, yet he was lured by NUP leadership to have wounds inflicted on his body after promising to pay him UGX 50 million, which was not fulfilled after the mission was accomplished.
The delegates instead accused the NUP leadership of being behind the continued abductions and torture claims of citizens with intentions to attract the attention of human rights activists.
A source said that before the meeting, Bobi Wine and his team were too excited and were planning to use EU delegates to get involved in cheap politics to gain political capital, which they neglected.
A source added that because of the disappointment from EU delegates, the distressed Bobiwine, who had already planned the presser, decided to immediately abandon the conference and left crestfallen from the scene after the meeting.
He added that NUP party spokesperson Joel Ssenyonnyi disguised himself by addressing the media and disclosing a few details about the engagement they had with EU delegates. He said that a team from the EU delegation visited NUP to deliver feedback on concerns NUP raised when they wrote to them regarding the aftermath of the 2021 general elections and respect for human rights.
“As NUP, we expected to tell the whole world what has been happening in Uganda, but they refused to speak in camera, which disappointed us,” he said.
He added that on the issue of arrests, brutality, and human rights abuse, EU delegates told them that they had engaged the government of Uganda and found out that all people had been released and some of the prisoners had been tried in courts of law.
He said that the delegation said that they have been monitoring human rights and democracy in Uganda, which they discovered were satisfactory.
Ssenyonyi and the NUP leadership showed discontent with EU delegates because they did not play their political games.
On the issue of corruption, Ssenyonyi said that the EU told NUP that the government of Uganda was handling it, and they saw some officials being implicated and tried in court.
Ssenyonyi noted that the EU is a strong pillar in supporting and funding Uganda’s policies and economy, and NUP normally shows accountability as they seek funds for political activities, some of which are funded by EU-friendly NGOs and other Ugandan well-wishers.
The EU delegation commended the government for protecting human rights and ensuring democracy in Uganda.