The US government is pondering slapping criminal sanctions on at least seven security commanders over human rights violations after Eliot Engel, the chairperson of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, called for tough action against them.
On December 09, Engel wrote to secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and Steven T Mnuchin, the Secretary U.S. Department of the Treasury, demanding that the US sanctions the officials.
Engel, the U.S. Representative for New York’s 16th congressional district, is a key ally of National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
He claimed the security officials he wants sanctioned had continued to perpetuate long-serving President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s “long track record of repressive behavior.”
This behavior, continued Engel, included: “attacks on independent media, the banning of political rallies and concerts, the arrest, detention, and torture of individuals who dare to challenge the president or the ruling party, and a persistent lack of accountability for the arbitrary and extrajudicial killings and torture perpetrated by Ugandan security forces.”
He added that “diplomatic rhetoric alone has had little impact on President Museveni’s behavior. Instead, he has further consolidated power while preventing the emergence of a viable democratic opposition.”
From the Kasese Massacre of 2016, the September 2017 security raid on parliament, to the introduction of OTT tax, Engel details why Trump should act on the officials.
“In November 2016, Ugandan security forces massacred over 100 civilians in Kasese. In September 2017, Ugandan Special Forces forcibly entered parliament during a debate over whether to remove presidential age limits from the constitution, which now allows President Museveni to rule indefinitely. During the tumult, MP Betty Nambooze suffered serious spinal injuries from which she is still recovering. In July 2018, the government imposed a tax on citizens who wished to access social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter – a transparent ploy to discourage anti-government mobilization on the part of youths and dissidents,” Engel wrote.
“These violent incidents reflect a highly disturbing trajectory for the country, thus ensuring that the environment for general elections in January 2021 has been fundamentally tilted in favor of an incumbent who has been in power since 1986.”
OFFICIALS LIKELY TO FACE US SANCTIONS
- Gen Peter Elwelu, the Commander of Land Forces
- Maj Gen James Birungi, Commander of the Special Forces Command (SFC)
- Maj Gen Don William Nabaasa, former Commander of the Special Forces Command
- Maj Gen Abel Kandiho, the commandant of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI)
- Maj Gen Steven Sabiiti Muzeyi, the Deputy Inspector of General of Police
- Frank Mwesigwa, Commissioner of Police
- Col Chris Serunjogi Ddamulira, the Director of Crime Intelligence in the Uganda Police Force