ARUSHA, 5 January 2021 – The East African Law Society (EALS) has threatened to sue Uganda over gross violations of human rights ahead of that country’s presidential elections scheduled for next January 14.
EALS presidents for Uganda, Rwanga, Tanzania, Burundi, Zanzibar and Kenyaco-signed a statement on New Year Day threatening the court action.
The EALS said it will begin proceedings unless Ugandan officials, incljuding incumbent president Yoweri Museveni, the military, police leadership and the Attorney General of Uganda fail to end the rights violations and violence.
Some of the most gruesome violations have targeted opposition leaders, lawyers, journalists, political and human rights activists and ordinary citizens, notably those who support opposition candidates.
“We are monitoring the situation in the Republic of Uganda and collecting crucial evidence that will enable us to institute actions against these acts that violate the EAC Treaty,” the statementread in part.
The EALS added that it will work together with their member national bar associations and other partners across the East African region and globally.
The EALS has said up an ad hoc Rule of Law Committee comprising experienced lawyers from across the region for purposes of collecting and preserving relevant evidence and to “prepare watertight cases against the violators,” the statement added.
The sub-regional bar association says Uganda is experiencing one of its most violent electoral campaigns in decades characterized by mass arrests, deaths and disenfranchisement of opposition candidates.
No fewer than 54 people were killed by Ugandan security forces in November 2020, most of them supporters or attendees at campaign rallies or protest marches in support of opposition presidential aspirant Robert Kyagulanyi alais Bobi Wine.
Officials at several of the country’s opposition parties say the number of people killed by security forces in the violence is north of 100.
Over 800 people have been arrested and scores remain in detention, waiting to be tried on trumped up charges.