Uganda Peoples Congress

Uganda Peoples Congress
National Secretariat
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala

The Mabira Tragedy

Press Release

18 April 200

  1. The Uganda Peoples Congress regrets the death of an Indian National and two Africans. UPC would like to send its condolences to the bereaved families of all the deceased and its sympathy to scores of people who were injured and hospitalized, those who lost properties and the family members of the affected leaders of the demonstration who are now on trial.
  2. The racial overtones that the demonstration later assumed could not have been the intention of the planners. UPC is suspicious that there was an undercurrent within the demonstration that sought to paint the demonstration in bad image by indulging in activities contrary to the purpose of the demonstration.
  3. This racism was never there during the two UPC administrations in 1960's and 1980's.It is the bad politics of President Museveni and his NRM government that is producing this racial uneasiness in our society. The policy of treating foreign investors as first class human beings and the citizens of Africa as backward and therefore second-class citizens is a painful reminder of the colonial past where Africans were treated as 3rd class citizens in business and in access to other opportunities.
  4. UPC is extremely concerned with the mentality of "we fought" that the NRM leaders have used to perpetuate their criminal acts against the people of Uganda. This mentality and attitude of "we fought" has not only replaced the supreme law of Uganda but its effect can be seen in fraud and corruption in global fund, privatization and now the Mabira forest give-away tragedy. The NRM leadership has successfully used it to hold the citizens of this country hostage to its hidden criminal agenda and warlords' style of governance.
  5. The demonstration was "cleared" by the police. The police was supposed to guide and manage the demonstration on the agreed route. The question UPC is asking now is, if the Police was in charge, how did the hit and run vehicle knock three people in the glaring eyes of the police? Why didn't the police guide the traffic and demonstrators to forestall possible accidents?
  6. UPC believes that, the Police inaction followed by over reaction incited the crowd. The visible presence of the riot police at the railway grounds, the assembling venue of the demonstration, directly violated understanding with the police. The heavy presence of the tear gas police appeared to be a calculated government policy to agitate the demonstrators, especially given the past records of police in dispersing the demonstrations in the city. Did the police not realize that, this would make the crowd become agitated and feel threatened thus act in defiance?
  7. The practice of President Museveni of jumping to conclusion and apportioning blame to the opposition for the bloody Thursday demonstration before even the investigation machinery completed its report was completely wrong and regrettable. This tendency of accusing, condemning and passing judgment does not only interfere with the due process of law but proves that the persecution and hounding of opposition members of differing political belief, opinion and conscience which happens to differ with those held by President Museveni, is not about to end. The government also uses this to gain sympathy from international community by projecting the opposition as a violent group.
  8. UPC urges President Museveni and his government to preserve Mabira in its natural state and guarantee the rights of Ugandans to express and defend their views on Mabira both in word and deed. UPC calls upon all Ugandans to remain resolute on the preservation of ecosystem especially Mabira.A planted Mabira is not the same as the natural one,the God given one.
  9. UPC states that, the police has a duty to protect everybody including demonstrators.The right to demonstrate is guaranteed by the Constitution and not granted by the state. The government is slowly encroaching on this right and freedom of citizens and surrendering it to the whims of the police, which is contrary to the constitution. UPC urges Ugandans to resist this tendency.

For God and my Country

Mama Miria Kalule Obote

President, Uganda Peoples Congress