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TROUBLE IN PARADISE: US Senator Piles Pressure on President Biden to Block Museveni from Conference, Slap Sanctions Against First Son Muhoozi

Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Museveni and Biden

Trouble could be looming for President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni and first son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba after Robert Bob Menendez, the chairperson of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, urged President Joe Biden to slap sanctions against them over alleged human rights violations. 

Menendez, the senator from New Jersey, wants President Biden to block Museveni from attending the 2022 US-Africa Leaders’ summit.

According to the White House, as part of the Biden Administration’s commitment to revitalizing global partnerships and alliances, President Biden will this year convene leaders from across the African continent for the second US-Africa Leaders Summit.

“This Summit will continue efforts to strengthen ties with African partners based on principles of mutual respect and shared interests and values. It will also serve as an opportunity to listen to and collaborate with African counterparts on key areas the United States and Africa define as critical for the future of the continent and our global community,” read a statement by the White House in part.

But Senator Menendez wants President Biden to cancel Museveni’s invitation.

The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations boss also wants the Biden Administration to slap sanctions against Kainerugaba, the Commander of Land Forces and Senior Presidential Advisor on Special Operations.

He also wants sanctions against security and government officials accused of engaging in human rights violations such as illegal detentions and torture.

Menendez also wants Ugandan army officers banned from military schools in the US.

In his letter dated March 28, the New Jersey Senator, relies on claims by exiled novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija and other government critics.

According to Menendez, Rukirabashaija Lt Gen Kainerugaba “personally participated in at least one interrogation session.”

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Menendez also told Biden that Museveni’s government has not held anybody accountable for the 2016 Kasese killings that left about 100 people dead as well as the killing of tens of people following the 2020 arrest of NUP candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.

Menendez is also unhappy that MPs passed amendments for the removal of presidential age and term limits.

Describing Uganda’s record as “troubling,” Menendez said it was high time Kampala stop receiving US foreign aid and security assistance.

“While the US has issued statements and expressions of concern after human rights violations come to light, such statements are insufficient. Personal targeted sanctions would have greater impact,” said Menendez.

“Mr President, if the outcome of the elections in Uganda does not reflect the will of the people, I will be calling for the Biden administration to re-evaluate our relationship with the Museveni administration. Uganda’s stature and importance as a security partner should not prevent the United States from speaking out in support of democracy, and taking action in support of those Ugandans fighting for democratic freedoms.”

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