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Uganda - Page 14

  • Africa's Top War Criminal still at large!

    Virunga Mountains

    Yoweri Museveni is responsible for the death of 5.5 million africans- from Uganda, Rwanda,Sudan and Congo DRC. The people of Uganda and the world believe very strongly that Yoweri Museveni should be arrested as soon as possible. We also call upon the international community to impose a travel burn on Yoweri Museveni and his squard of killers. 

    "Justice in northern Uganda requires that the ICC thoroughly examine UPDF abuses of the civilian population as well as abuses by the LRA. The willful killings, torture and mistreatment, rape and arbitrary arrests and detention of civilians by UPDF soldiers highlighted in this report are serious crimes that may fall within the ICC’s jurisdiction.The ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes particularly when committed as part of a policy or plan or on a large scale.

    The government remains responsible for many of the hardships and abuses endured by the displaced population. Since 1996 the government has used the army to undertake a massive forced displacement of the population in the north and imposed severe restrictions on freedom of movement. While justifying the displacements on grounds of security, the government has forcibly displaced people without a lawful basis under international law and then has failed to provide the promised security. Many of those displaced, including almost the entire population of the three Acholi districts live in squalid conditions in displaced persons camps that are susceptible to LRA attacks. The Ugandan army has failed to protect these camps, compounding the harm inflicted by the original forced displacement."

    Museveni's criminal army has continued to abuse ugandans with impunity see report

    Free Uganda
  • Uganda top war criminal still at large

    Virunga Mountains

    Yoweri Museveni is responsible for the death of 5.5 million africans- from Uganda, Rwanda,Sudan and Congo DRC. The people of Uganda and the world believe very strongly that Yoweri Museveni should be arrested as soon as possible. We also call upon the international community to impose a travel burn on Yoweri Museveni and his squard of killers. 

    "Justice in northern Uganda requires that the ICC thoroughly examine UPDF abuses of the civilian population as well as abuses by the LRA. The willful killings, torture and mistreatment, rape and arbitrary arrests and detention of civilians by UPDF soldiers highlighted in this report are serious crimes that may fall within the ICC’s jurisdiction.The ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes particularly when committed as part of a policy or plan or on a large scale.

    The government remains responsible for many of the hardships and abuses endured by the displaced population. Since 1996 the government has used the army to undertake a massive forced displacement of the population in the north and imposed severe restrictions on freedom of movement. While justifying the displacements on grounds of security, the government has forcibly displaced people without a lawful basis under international law and then has failed to provide the promised security. Many of those displaced, including almost the entire population of the three Acholi districts live in squalid conditions in displaced persons camps that are susceptible to LRA attacks. The Ugandan army has failed to protect these camps, compounding the harm inflicted by the original forced displacement."

    Museveni's criminal army has continued to abuse ugandans with no impunity see report

    Free Uganda
  • Reflections on the Zapatista' VI Declaration

    Virunga Mountains

    * The Cuban Libertarian Movement (CLM; in Spanish: Movimiento Libertario Cubano - MLC) presents for collective debate its reflections on the declarations made by the EZLN (the Zapatista rebels) in July 2005 in the state of Chiapas, Mexico.

    On January 1st, 1994 the Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico came into effect, and along with the new year, spoiling the party of the powerful, from deep within the forgotten Lacandona jungle also came on scene "the fire and the word" of the Zapatista rebels. Back then the whole world seemed to march without too much upheaval or energetic opposition towards "the end of History" and was doing so via "globalization" and neo-liberalism; that is , lest we forget and assume erroneously that those words explain everything , via the present hegemonic model adopted by the state's system of control and transnational capitalism; that is, the currently prevalent models of large scale domination and exploitation. In such a hopeless context, the Zapatista outbreak meant a strong breeze of fresh air and a loud confirmation " anticipated, naturally, in many but less resounding gestures of resistance all over the world " that History continued its course and that nothing had put a stop to people's struggles. Thus it was lauded from the beginning by leftist groups of diverse colors and thus it was also received by the Cuban Libertarian Movement who then gave its initial support to community projects in the Lacandona jungle such as the anti-authoritarian school May 1st or the direct solidarity camp Chicago Martyrs. For us, then as now, the emergence and development of the Zapatista National Liberation Army and its deeds make sense and demand a new look as part of the emergence and development of a new Latin American revolutionary left. The form, the profile and the orientations of that constellation of left groups and practices are one of our basic issues; therefore we must, within that frame of reference, take our position on the road the EZLN is on and its recent VI Declaration of the Lacandona jungle, as well as on its treatment and derivations. We will do so, with the solidarity and respect the Zapatista movement has earned on its merits whose proclamation is not necessary, but also without omitting " this would be an inconceivable demonstration of demagoguery and opportunism " the criticism we deem applicable regarding contributions to the slow and laborious process of consolidating the new Latin American revolutionary left.

    "What Left and where do we find it"
    Let's start at the beginning and answer the mother of all questions: what is that new Latin American revolutionary left we speak of" For starters, there is no doubt that left is the one that has not renounced utopia neither by word or deed, and that, in spite of everything, finds its main encouragement in an utopia that could be generally defined as a thick web of relationships among free, equal and mutually supportive beings; an utopia capable of identifying its distant and venerable beginnings and of reclaiming them for their much needed actualization. That left that feeds on not only its own full development but also on the other's emptiness and grows within the hopeless and widely open space created by the resounding failures of the "actually existing socialism" and the immediate defection of neo-liberal anti-utopia. This is the left that has learned to recognize and look askance at the narrow and dry road left on the wake of the guerrilla vanguards later become some exclusive and excluding party, civil or military populism and social-democratic reformism; this is the left that doesn't feel represented by any authority and even questions the meaning of "representation", that seeks itself among the cries of "let them all go!" and the whispering promise to "change the world without taking power"; the left that depends on the non-negotiable autonomy of grassroots social movements as the template for a new world and that in self-management and direct action finds its truest expression. A left that surely the EZLN wants to belong to and that, in open reciprocity, finds in it one of its most visible manifestations.

    Now then, neither that new left nor the EZLN are finished structures that answer to a rigorous and extensive plan of construction but instead must be thought of as work in progress, characterized here and there by inevitable doubts and innovations founded on the needs of practices that are rabidly antagonistic. For example, the EZLN makes sense if interpreted as a guerrilla movement in transition. Its origins are more or less marked by the parameters typical of Latin American guerrillas of the 60's and 70's: "national liberation" as an informing concept, the pride of feeling and self-proclaiming as an "army", the mystique of the "commandants", certain symbolic reminiscences, etc., not really successful parameters and about which the EZLN doesn't seem to have yet performed an in-depth critique. Its own actions have led it to adopt a profile that no longer responds to the old model. Not only because the "war of liberation" in its classical sense lasted barely 12 days but also because already by January 1st 1996 - the Fourth Declaration "the EZLN gave us the happy surprise of calling for the formation of "a political force that is not a political party" and indicating that it didn't aspire to take power. To put it in our own terms: neither the old guerrilla vanguard nor social-democratic reformism. Neither " even less- the idols of populist salvation that would hardly find themselves at home among the anonymous every day events of the Lacandona jungle. That which, back then was beginning to acquire its highest relevance is precisely what we're most interested in highlighting as a milestone of the new Latin American left: the autonomy of grassroots social movements; an autonomy that, within the EZLN's sphere of action in Chiapas, is that of the communities of the first peoples.

    "Forwards and backwards of the Zapatista movement
    Within the complex trajectory of the EZLN shadows and lights have, from the beginning, coexisted. Looking to legitimately widen its breadth and project its fight to the whole Mexican state, the EZLN rubbed elbows with, or glanced and winked with certain familiarity at the dominant institutions while expanding and consolidating its regional autonomy. The former only produced mediated acknowledgements, broken pacts, delays and failures, the latter, in contrast, cemented its hold on its immediate sphere of influence. And, just like the former led to the episodic formation of large political superstructures that voluntarily or not were delivered to the dynamics of the State or its implicit environment of action and later were trapped in its steel claws (National Democratic Convention, Movement of National Liberation, Committee of Concord and Pacification, etc), the latter facilitated, from August 2003 on, the emergence of a larger participation on the part of the Zapatista communities and a possibly healthy redefinition of the EZLN; now aiming ?although never totally nor with convincing energy ? to perform more as accompaniment than unnecessary first violin. This alternative way of thinking about politics and this latest course of action have allowed the formation of the five autonomous regions in Chiapas and the (not very well) denominated councils of good government; a reshuffling of roles far from being resolved and that has a lot to do with the debates and problems of the new Latin American revolutionary left. Lights and shadows through which the new EZLN has made manifest, either the fusion, without a preconceived plan, of old and new elements combining ? very much like a movement in transition, as we have said ? some of the practices of a conventional guerrilla army with the indispensable dares claimed by grassroots organizations as they build their autonomy. This play of lights and shadows can?t help but have an effect on the Sixth Declaration and ?the other campaign? which we need to address immediately.

    It is fitting to start by being fair and consequent: if there?s anything the EZLN has made perfectly clear in its Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona jungle is that it feels cheated and that the main agents of the fiasco are the institutional political parties, with its leaders first of all. Their wording in this respect leaves little room for exegesis too complex and needlessly sinuous: ?the politicians have clearly shown that they have no decency and are just a bunch of scoundrels that only think of earning lots of money as the bad governors they are. We must remember this because you will see that now they?re going to say that they will recognize indigenous rights, but this is a lie they tell us so we vote for them, but they already had their chance and didn?t come through.? Chances and defaults that ? it all must be said with even clarity ? run through every country?s history of ?representative? democracy and come together each with its own characteristics in a hypothetical tale of universal infamy. It being so, it is proper that the EZLN wants to leave outside its expectations once and for all the institutional system of parties, wants to trace a clear dividing line in that sense and wants to orient its message in another direction: ?a new step forward in the indigenous struggle is only possible if the indigenous join the workers, peasants, students, teachers, employees ? that is, workers of town and country.? In other words, going further out and widening the spectrum of movements of resistance: ?in this globalization of rebellion appear not only the rural and urban workers, but also others appear that are prosecuted and held in contempt precisely because they don?t allow themselves to be dominated, such as women, young people, indigenous people, homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, immigrants, and many other groups that exist all over the world but that we don?t see nor hear until they cry out enough already, and they rise up, and then we see them, and hear them, and we learn from them.? A web of oppression, exclusion and pain seems to be at the bottom of the longings and desires of the EZLN; and perhaps the Lacandona jungle can be felt pulsating behind and under these words, words that not because they?re deliberately simple lack a deep and dear meaning.

    It is possible to agree with the immediate horizon in practically everything: the more or less stable articulation of these resistance movements behind a leftist program of struggle and the collective start of a ?national campaign to build another way of doing politics?. Another way of doing politics: this should be understood as totally different from that developed in a shameless contemptuous way by the electoral parties, always embarked in the rhythmic and spasmodic succession of seductive promises, amnesias without description and opportunistic justifications. Here we have, for instance, a new Zapatista attack: ?And those electoral parties not only don?t defend, but they are the first to be at the service of foreigners, mainly the United States, and are the ones who deceive us, making us look the other way while they sell off everything and keep the money?. Irrefutable judgments are these that the VI Declaration also extends with some nuances to the bureaucratic and defeatist labor movement: ?And if the workers were in their union to legally demand their rights, then no, right now the union tells them they have to buck up and accept a lower salary or less hours or less benefits, or else the company closes and goes to another country?. A different way of doing politics about which not many things are specified but must surely be understood as an option for direct democracy as opposed to hierarchical and crystallized ?representations?; an option for the people?s active participation with all its potential as opposed to the systematic exclusion that has always benefited technocrats and ?know-it-alls?; an option for sincerity, dialog among equals and the shared elaboration of those dreams that are common to all as opposed to the insensible and absurd fair of the vanities where dissembling and lying run the house. The Declaration doesn?t say it, but such things can be implicit inasmuch they seem to be the authentic road to the formation and development of the indigenous Zapatista communities, essential signs of their existence and their consolidation.

    ? Constitutional change: a road to nowhere
    It?s a good thing there aren?t many definitions or a detailed and suffocating program to subscribe to, since the presence of such things would be more an invitation to adhesion than to dialogue; consideration of Mexican grassroots social movements more as a passive audience or an empty container than as a living and active fabric, capable of producing its own words and its own fire. Nevertheless there is a unique programmatic element the EZLN seems to take as axiomatic and tacitly agreed to, an element that can be a source of errors of vision and multiple strategic mistakes: ?a new Constitution?. Will this be an elliptical way of referring to the constituent basis of a new Mexican society, and therefore including the conviction that this requires no more nor less a radical subversion of its power relations? Or perhaps it attempts to embark the autonomous social movements on a conventional constitutional reform whose transactions and game rules have been previously defined along the norms in force and as such, subjected beforehand to those very same power relations? On its face, it would seem that the EZLN holds a nostalgic idea of the Mexican Constitution that doesn?t hold up to an analysis in depth. Let?s see: ?the Constitution has been fondled and changed. It is no longer that which had the rights and liberties of the working people, but now it has the rights and liberties of the neo-liberals to obtain their huge profits. The judges are there to serve those neo-liberals because they always rule in their favor, and those who aren?t rich get only injustice, prison or the cemetery.? But, did Mexico ever have a constitution that really consecrated, without ifs and buts, and in its widest expression ?the liberties of the working people?? This type of reasoning might perhaps lead to the belief that the EZLN has understood very well the articulations of power that characterize the state?s political parties but has not yet grasped those that characterize the state itself. However, there?s no mystery in this and it can be stated, paraphrasing Marcos, in very simple words: the parties are like they are because the state is like it is.

    Something that should be beyond any discussion is that the state is a specific structure of domination, a hierarchical and codified form of social power relations and a system designed to self-perpetuate. This being so, the correct description the EZLN makes of the state?s party system cannot be founded in the malevolence, the perverse character or the venality of its leaders but must find a substantial part of its reasoning in the fact that such parties establish their basic orientation as an operation to capture the reins of the State. And it is precisely because of this that such parties adopt a shape that faithfully reproduces the State in their own actions: that is why they constitute themselves as instances of control and disciplining of its affiliates; that is why they assign deferential attributions to each of their own organs in their pyramidal existence; and that is why they believe that their survival, beyond any historical or social consideration, should be seen by ?the voters? ?their own and the other?s ? as a blessing from heaven. We anarchists have been so convinced for over 130 years and the subsequent historical experience has only confirmed those old intuitions, and has done so without presenting, since then, a single exception to our anxious and expectant eyes. Furthermore: if in the past it was said ?power corrupts? today we can say that even the mere aspiration to power also corrupts, beforehand and with plenty of room.

    In this we must be clear and coherent. How does one reconcile the EZLN saying ?we fight to be free, to not have to change master every six years? with the EZLN who speaks of ?a new Constitution?? Can perhaps a Magna Carta transacted and compacted by necessity with the current state organization, according to the traditional sense of the expression, be reconciled with the struggle for freedom? It would seem not, and it would also seem that the correct orientation is exactly the contrary: the struggle for freedom starts with the autonomic formation of grassroots social movements and develops within it, while the negotiated pursuit of a new Constitution is condemned to be mired in the tortuous maze of the State and its endless machinations. Such conclusion doesn?t need any erudite study in comparative politics, it?s more than enough with the experience of the EZLN in similar matters. The fundamental and radical rejection to the state?s party system is an important conceptual step that only requires its necessary complement: the rejection of the narrow road of the state that will allow unfettered transit without chains or distractions along the fertile road of autonomy. This autonomy of the social movements, set within the frame of territorial action they decide to give themselves, is the libertarian condition par excellence: an autonomy that requires emancipation from all-knowing power, external and superior, in order for each collective to design, with the largest margin of liberty possible, its own living relationships and its own recourses to action; without conditions or extortions, thinking themselves and their becoming and trusting in their own abilities rather than predestinations, messiahs, doctrines, conspiracies or randomness that ?as is well known ? have never nor will ever lead anywhere.

    We all could ?walk by asking? and ?command by obeying?. There are many more things that could be argued in solidarity with the EZLN regarding their Sixth Declaration, or better yet, do so with all the Zapatista communities and, in general, about the people?s lives and struggles.

    For example, we would like to go deeper on globalization and neo-liberalism, so that among us all we can trace a map of the world that is not reproducible exclusively in black and white, to see that in this arena there are more than two gladiators and it?s necessary to identify a whole gamut of local relationships articulated for our own convenience and not out of pure obsequiousness to the world?s great centers of power. In the end capitalism also finds citizenship papers and its specific multinational facade in Mexico, without the imperative of an external agent to give it life, impulse and projection. This type of consideration will allow us to make common, with almost complete certainty, the conviction that not only sold out politicians and their corrupt followings are responsible for the situation but also there are certain social levels that also try hard maintaining the status quo. This might bring us to share definitions much more markedly anti-capitalist, anti-state and anti-bureaucratic that perhaps the EZLN has already formulated within itself but has not yet made completely manifest.

    We?d like to reflect in a brotherly way on a sentence of the Sixth Declaration to which we assign special importance and that illustrates one of the distinctive features of the EZLN all this time: ?that is, on top the democratic political commanding and below the military obeying. Or perhaps even better that there be no below but everything level, with no military, and that is why the Zapatistas are soldiers so that there be no more soldiers?. Really, if everything were ?level? nobody would command and nobody would obey but each act out of their own convictions, their own possibilities and their own commitments with the agreements freely adopted. And we would say that it?s dangerous and paradoxical this having soldiers so as not to have soldiers because then ?what a mess of words! we would always need some soldiers so there would be no more soldiers. It seems much better, more direct and clearer to say that we are anti-military, and then really get to work, fully and not half-hearted, for the dissolution of all armies.

    We would like to discuss in more detail with our comrades from the Lacandona jungle the motives that cause our enthusiasm with the idea of bringing together all the Mexican social movements in a wide net without exclusion. But even then, we would like to maintain a respectful discrepancy with respect to a proceeding that might not be the best. We think that this net should not have a center and, precisely because of this, the EZLN should not have self-attributed the role of initial coordinator assigning to itself the administration of a dialogue where the participants have already been previously categorized and meet according to the dispositions in regards to dates, place and agenda prescribed by the CCRI. It surely would have been better that the dates would have resulted from a broad previous consultation, that the place would be equidistant and that the initial agenda would be nothing but the free flow of the irrevocable popular voice. Perhaps there?s no cause for mistrusting the intentions and believe that this gathering is nothing more than a foundational necessity and that there will be plenty of future opportunities for things to be different.

    Cuba: so near Chiapas, so far from the EZLN
    We'd like to expound these things and many others, but right now it only seems right to place the questions. There is, however, an issue we can?t avoid at this time and that, as the Cuban Libertarian Movement, especially and directly interests us. We think it?s great that the EZLN manifest its solidarity with the people struggling in Latin America and the world and we could issue our own declarations to the effect. Inasmuch as people?s struggles happen everywhere, we think it?s a good literary image to say that we can?t very well tell where to deliver the EZLN?s testimonies of solidarity. What is not clear, then, is the ideological and political mechanism whereby the peoples of the world are ?not locatable? whereas the Cuban people can find their seat, their natural residence and their legitimate representation at their government?s embassy in Mexico City. Seeing things this way, it?s as if the EZLN interrupted almost all its concepts, praxis and learning at the very moment of landing in Cuba. What natural and coherent link can there be between a platform that seeks to exalt the fabric of Mexican society through its grassroots social movements and another that assumes that its Cuban equivalent is totally absorbed by its government. Furthermore, does the EZLN believe that the Cuban government embodies the model of a new Latin American revolutionary left or is disposed to participate in it, eve as a discreet fellow traveler? Does the EZLN believe that they must do in Mexico what the Cuban ?Communist? Party has done in Cuba? Does the EZLN deem contradictory and inconsequent to solidly marry the autonomy of the grassroots communities with a centralizing and excluding regime? Does the EZLN think that the self-expression of the Cuban people could be autonomous popular organizations whose appearance the government carefully and systematically tries to forestall by means of preventive repression? What answers, finally, can the EZLN give to such grave questions?

    In addition, the EZLN can?t ignore or forget that during four long decades the Cuban and the Mexican government maintained fraternal relations; one of the best moments can surely be found around the complicit silence on the part of the Cuban government about the massacre of Tlatelolco in 1968 and the sending of athletes to the Olympic games immediately following; in spite of calls for the boycott of the games at the time by the Mexican left. There is a fraternal inter-states relationship that is not hard to personify in the friendship between Fidel Castro and Carlos Salinas de Gortari, part of whose fortune ? amassed thanks to the exploitation of the Mexican worker ? today is invested in Cuban territory. Given these antecedents, and many others of a similar character, the EZLN should have no difficulty verifying that, for the Cuban ruling elite, the axis of international relations does not consist of the people?s struggles but instead these struggles are re-interpreted at will according to the type of relationship the ruling monopoly party decides to have with the rest of the governments, if and when they can breathe a little oxygen to its capacity for survival. How can you explain, if not, that Cuban diplomacy has supported the struggles against South Africa?s apartheid and has also shown extreme solidarity with the Suharto regime in Indonesia, who maintained a similar situation in East Timor? What coherence can there be between subscribing to the rights of African peoples to define their own destiny while at the same time sending troops of occupation to face Eritrean independence fighters according to the needs of the Soviet?s chess game, or now in a virtually ludicrous register, training Idi Amin?s military escort? What justification does the Cuban government have to send a vice-president to take part in the Davos forum and later send its president of the National Assembly to protest in Porto Alegre against the same forum? How can it be that racism is so strongly condemned at the UN World Conference on the subject that took place in Durban and later refusing all invitations to analyze the reasons why there?s an over-representation of Black people in Cuba?s jails. And so on, as far as anybody?s critical curiosity might take them.

    By the way: is it necessary to remind the EZLN of the living conditions of the Cuban people and their absolute impossibility to self-organize autonomously or even to express themselves to face the situation? We think any concrete reference is unnecessary at this moment and we want to believe that the mention of the embassy of the Cuban government in Mexico City is only a mistake; a lapse that can be amended at the earliest opportunity. We want to believe it is so because what?s at stake is a lot more important and we have so insinuated from the beginning. Let?s repeat it and keep it present from now on: what matters is the formation, the profile and the orientation of a constellation of rebel groups and practices that today meet the conditions to nurture the new Latin American revolutionary left. In this work of creation there can be no carelessness nor levity nor polite phrases. In this work of creation the Cuban government has nothing to contribute because the only genuine messages that will permit us to advance along the road of freedom will not issue from the bureaucrat?s offices in Havana but from the clashes and din that surge from deep below and that below find their unmistakable echoes. It is there with the Ecuadorian ?outlaws?, the Mapuche resistance, the Cochabamba peasants, the occupied factories in Argentina, the land occupations in Brasil and, of course, also in the experiences and trials that today are taking place in the Lacandona jungle.

    Free Uganda

    Virunga Mountains

    Manuel Bravo from Angola, detained in Yarl's Wood with his 13 years old son, committed suicide last night by hanging himself.
    Manuel Bravo was in is thirties. According to his church group who supported him he was terrified to be returned to Angola. He was due to be deprted Friday. He leaves a thirteen years old son who is being 'cared for' by the staff at the detention centre.

    The people detained with him got very upset. Most of them are women, many with children. Everybody was crying. I phoned them at the detention centre and I could hear it; a woman was so upset she could not even talk, just kept sobbing. They feel it is a tragedy for all of them.
    Most women refused to eat and held prayer vigils instead.
    Some women detainees, mostly frm Uganda, have been on hungerstrike for a long time, some as long as 40 days. Three required hospitalisation as a result. Some of the women are starting eating again. They are all unhappy with the conditions at Yarl's Wood and all have serious concerns if they are deported back to Uganda. Some of them have been imprisoned, all have been gang raped and tortured, and are likely to be returned in the hands of the same authorities they fled from. They are terrified to be returned to Uganda. Some are HIV+ as a result of rape, and in Uganda won't be able to buy the drugs that can keep them alive and are very expensive there.

    Free Uganda
  • Broke" Rwanda Bankrolls FDC; Does It Make Sense?

    Virunga Mountains

    By Ignatius Kabagambe

    Uganda opposition politician Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu threw a spanner in the wheels of the Uganda - Rwanda mutual relations engine by claiming that Rwanda supports his Forum for Democratic change (FDC). He made the casual remarks while addressing a convention of Ugandans living in North America.

    There is nothing new to Ugandans or Rwandans in what Muntu said because many other people in Uganda had time and again expressed outrightly or insinuated the notion that Kigali is in bed with the Ugandan opposition. The only new element in this school of thought is that this time it has come from a high profile member of the very opposition.

    Yet even this should not be seen as a revealing twist. Keen followers of how some media sections in Uganda have been covering the issue of the two countries' bilateral relations ought to have seen it coming.

    Talk about the alleged support has sometimes passed as no news to some people for the mere fact it has been endlessly harped on by those using it to achieve different results. But to many others reading or listening to it is still exciting. The media as well as the opposition know this and thus the reason we should not have been surprised by Muntu's statement. He intended to stir the audience.

    But does Rwanda really support FDC, or would it matter if they did? For me the second part of this question is what is important.

    Given the close historical links between some members of the Rwandan government and Ugandans, including opposition politicians, it would be naïve to expect zero ties between Kigali and the Ugandan opposition.

    A Rwandan government worth its name should never envisage trashing a Ugandan opposition leader unless that leader was of the same breed with Lord's Resistance Army's Joseph Kony. What Kigali should, and I am sure it does, is avoid involvement in efforts aimed at toppling an elected government.

    The problem with our kind of politics is that opposition members, no matter what they stand for, are demonized as anti-people by the powers that be as a way of denying them electoral favour. We are so selfish and undemocratic by nature to the extent that when we attain power, we want to retain it even if it means sacrificing fundamental principles and common sense. Otherwise why would it be queer for Muntu and company to have individual friends in the Rwandan government?

    In civilised political atmospheres, opposition groups that wish to access power because they think they can provide a better alternative to the existing policies are not branded enemies of the people. They are seen, at least with a hind sight, as well intentioned, the reason they are fought using appropriate language and methods generally acceptable.

    Rwanda may be sympathetic to FDC, the way Uganda might have been sympathetic to Faustine Twagiramungu during the 2003 Rwandan Presidential Elections. But it is more respectable controlling ourselves when we learn about such developments than declaring each other as enemies, the way Uganda did in 2001, even when the said sympathy is not going to affect the final poll results.

    In the wake of Muntu's statement and in line with his diplomatic duties of narrowing mutual conflicting gaps, the Ambassador of Rwanda to Uganda said that his country has no agreed working relationship with the Ugandan opposition that can be termed as support. This could be very accurate. Because Rwanda does not have to be intimidated into disowning people who, one, could be having individual friends among its government officials, and two, whose only "crime" is expressing opposing views to the Kampala establishment.

    However, the Ambassador's reaction was in stack contrast with that of the Movement spokesman, Mr. Ofwono Opondo. He yelled that all along it was known Rwanda was behind FDC. He boasted that Uganda was able to defeat mega-rich colonizing Britain and therefore there was no way "broke" Rwanda could stand a chance of ruling its northern neighbour.

    Now, broke in which sense that Uganda is free from? In June this year, a Ugandan government official said Rwandans had acted like infants by not allowing President Yoweri Museveni to enter their country with un-declared fire-arms. Still earlier this decade the Rwandan regime had been called politically bankrupt by someone from Uganda's highest political office.

    Question: Is all some Ugandan politicians can do when faced with mild fire from Rwanda, is call it all sorts of comical names? Is that frustration really called for?

    May be the next time the Movement contemplates appointing an assistant to Opondo, it should look for someone with a rich background, who will at least sound credible when referring to Rwanda as broke. As it stands now, not many people would understand a situation where Rwanda is bankrolling FDC yet it is supposed to be broke. But most strikingly, it is strange for the spokesman of a government supposedly heavy-laden with cash to be a "proud" shoplifter of a Bic pen and underpants. Does it add up?

    Free Uganda
  • Uganda women to be traded by UK & Uganda governments

    Virunga Mountains

    One very ill and weak woman was taken on a 12-hour journey to Dungavel Detention Centre in Scotland, where she remains on hunger strike. Other women, including spokeswoman Harriet Anyangokolo, have been released having at
    last secured legal representation and the opportunity to get their case reconsidered as a result of their protest. But at least two women have been deported, one of whom was stopped by corrupt immigration officials in Uganda demanding she give them all her money or they would hand her over to the police. She is now in hiding. There has been no contact
    with the other woman. The Home Office refuses to take any
    responsibility for monitoring the safety of those it returns.

    Ms Anyangokolo comments: 'There are 250 of us, cooped up in terrible conditions. Some of us have children with us, some have left them behind, and others are mothers as a result of rape. We are innocent women and children whose rights are being violated. Many of us are ill as a result of torture, some are HIV+ and some are so depressed they have tried to commit suicide. After all we have suffered the British government still wants to deport us back to war zones and the dictators we opposed, denying us protection and safety. They dump us in detention centres where we suffer again from poor medical attention, bad food, harassment and sexual intimidation by male staff, false accusations and racism causing us more trauma. We have been denied the opportunity to make our claims properly through cuts in legal aid, negligent or even corrupt lawyers, and racism and sexism in decisions refusing our claims.

    Some of us have been forced onto planes with the most appalling brutality and regardless of the justice of our claim. Women are continuing to fight for our rights and against deportation – we deserve safe accommodation not imprisonment, because we are not criminals, we
    are simply asylum seekers who deserve protection under international law. It would be better to die in a British rather than a Ugandan detention centre.'

    The government is determined to deport those it labels 'failed asylum seekers' no matter how unjustly. There is widespread recognition that the legal representation available to asylum seekers is deficient and in some cases corrupt. The cases below illustrate how these deficiencies are life threatening for women asylum seekers who are routinely imprisoned - against UNHCR and the government's own guidelines - and
    threatened with deportation. As a result of their public protest, most of the women have now secured legal representation. The threat of removal should be lifted and all the women should be released immediately whilst their cases are reconsidered.

    For more information contact: Legal Action for Women

    Crossroads Women’s Centre PO Box 287 London NW6 5QU

    Tel: 020 7482 2496 minicom/voice Fax: 020 7209 4761; Mob: 079291 38554

    E-mail: law@crossroadswomen.net

    Ms Gloria Chalimpa (HO Ref: C1117339/3 Port Ref: SEV/02/5277) has been in detention since 24 June 2005 and is due to be deported on 22 September. She suffered years of repeated rape from the age of six, when the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) killed her parents and abducted her. She was trained as a child soldier how to fight and use guns. She was sold to a 'sponsor', who also raped her and later arranged for her
    to study in the UK. On a visit back to Uganda she was arrested and imprisoned for kissing another woman in a nightclub. She managed to escape and returned to the UK. But when she claimed asylum she was put on the 'fast-track' procedure and detained in Yarl's Wood. The fast-track system, which is claimed to be only used for 'straight
    forward' cases, drastically reduces the time to prepare an asylum claim, denying women like Ms Chalimpa’s access to independent legal representation and other expert support upon which their lives depend.

    Ms Chalimpa's case was refused and she had to appeal without legal representation. Her lawyer said that there was insufficient likelihood of her winning her case to justify applying for legal aid. Her appeal was refused and she is now too ill to ask for reconsideration of her case, which is her right, and as a result her case was closed. Ms Chalimpa has a one year old daughter born in the UK whom she has not seen since being detained, compounding her depression and she has
    attempted suicide several times, including on Monday of this week when she was found trying to hang herself in the laundry room in Yarl’s Wood. She has no memory of what happened and is now on constant suicide watch. We are urgently trying to find her legal representation.

    Ms Madina Irimeri (HO Ref: G 1121198/2 Port ref: AFC/561670) has been detained for three months in the UK and is due to be deported on 20 September. She was detained in military barracks in Uganda where she suffered rape and other torture. The Home Office refused to believe her account when she claimed asylum. Ms Irimeri's lawyer failed to keep her
    informed of what was being done on her case, and she never saw what was submitted to the authorities. No expert report was commissioned by her lawyer for her appeal hearing to document Ms Irimeri's account of her experiences and investigate their impact on her. An affidavit she had got from Uganda confirming her account was dismissed by the adjudicator because it was a fax. She has obtained an original of this document but it is not clear whether her lawyers have even submitted this. She nowhas a new lawyer who is pursuing her claim.

    Ms Charity Mutebwa (HO Ref: M1210512 Port Ref: CEU570884) has been detained for three months and is on the 32nd day of her hunger strike. She was taken to Uganda after her Rwandan parents were slaughtered in the genocide of 1994. As supporters of an opposition party her husband
    and brother were killed and she was detained, where she was repeatedly gang raped by government soldiers. She escaped and fled to the UK but her her account of her experiences was dismissed by the Home Office and the courts. Her case was badly handled by her legal representatives – she later discovered the person representing her was a translator not a
    solicitor. The firm then claimed to have no knowledge of her case and that they did not have her documents, so she could not get another solicitor to pursue her claim. Her deportation should have been stopped when a new solicitor issued legal proceedings the day before she was due to go. But she was still taken to Heathrow airport. It was only when she insisted on calling her lawyer that the Home Office who confirmed
    she should not be deported. Ms Mutebwa was extremely weak and sick from her hunger strike but instead of returning to Yarl’s Wood, she was taken on a gruelling 12-hour journey to Dungavel Detention Centre in Scotland, locked in a small cell within the prison van. Ms Mutebwa’s new lawyer is pursuing her asylum claim.

    Ms Grace Namanda (HO ref: N1075891 Port ref: MEU/03/3636) has been held in Yarl’s Wood for the past three months. She was diagnosed as being HIV+ and fell ill while in the UK. She claimed asylum as the treatment upon which her life depends is not available in Uganda. Although she
    won her case on human rights grounds, the Home Office appealed the decision claiming the treatment she needed was available and free in Uganda. Ms Namanda's husband, father and siblings have all died because they did not get the treatment they needed. Her sister is her only remaining adult relative and is raising ten children, of whom five are orphans, but has no income. They have been depending on whatever Ms Namanda managed to send from her meager NASS support which has been stopped, so she is now extremely worried about them.

    Recent press coverage has exposed how aid money meant to be funding HIV/AIDs treatment has 'disappeared'. Experts have also challenged the authenticity of the government statistics on the availability and effectiveness of its treatment programmes, which the UK authorities have been citing. Having very recently secured legal representation, Ms
    Namanda has started taking a little fruit and vegetables as she was becoming too ill to pursue her case.

    Ms Sophie Odogo (HO Ref: O1086410/2) was detained on 17 May 2005 and has been in Bedford Hospital since Sunday, where we have not been able to speak with her because she is too weak. She fled to the UK after a relative helped her escape detention in Uganda, where she suffered repeated rape and other torture. She was detained the day after her asylum interview. The Home Office said they did not believe her
    account, citing her lack of knowledge about her husband's political activities. No expert evidence investigating and assessing the traumatic impact of her experiences was commissioned by her lawyer. Her account of rape was dismissed by the adjudicator at her appeal and her application for Judicial Review was refused. She has a new lawyer who
    is pursuing her case.

    Ms Enid Ruhango (HO ref: R1095499 Port ref: LBE/393901) was detained on 17 May and has also been in Bedford Hospital after she collapsed in Yarl’s Wood on Sunday. She was raped by Ugandan soldiers looking for her husband who was in the LRA, and again when she was taken into
    detention. She was raped again by the man who brought her to the UK. She is HIV positive. Again no expert evidence was commissioned by her lawyer to document her experiences and needs. The Home Office and the adjudicator at her appeal dismissed her account claiming the availability of free HIV/AIDs treatment in Uganda. She too has found a new lawyer through the help of Alistair Birt MP, who has been intervening in the women’s cases.

    Ms Salima Sekindi (HO ref: S1060767 Port ref: EDD/00/9612) is on the 32nd day of hunger strike. She was detained on 30 May 2005 and is due to be deported on 13/14 September. Ms Sekindi fled from Uganda after being raped by members of the security forces who came to her home looking for her husband, who was involved in the opposition. After she made her initial asylum application she never heard again from her
    lawyer despite her numerous phone calls and faxes. It was only when she was picked up and taken into detention that she found out that the Home Office had refused her case. She found out that her appeal hearing had gone ahead without her knowledge and without her lawyer present. She has now found a new lawyer to pursue her case.

    Since Legal Action for Women issued an asylum rights Self-Help Guide* in June, Black Women’s Rape Action Project and Women Against Rape have been inundated with calls from women in detention. Vulnerable and traumatized women are being forced onto planes with the most appalling brutality and regardless of the validity of their claim.

    There is no doubt that these women will be even more vulnerable in Uganda having spoken out about the torture they suffered. Please help save the hunger strikers. Your calls/letters could be decisive. Send us a copy of anything you write to the Home Office.

    Free Uganda
  • Anarchist Warm-up at the G8 in Scotland!

    Virunga Mountains

    Joram Jojo:

    more action

    Free Uganda
  • Uganda dictator orders ‘anarchists’ arrest!

    Virunga Mountains

    By Alfred Wasike
    PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has ordered the Police to arrest politicians threatening violence as Uganda transits towards change of political systems.

    Museveni also urged the army, the Police, Prisons and other armed forces to be neutral during the July 28 referendum but remain “partisan against crime like violence and other anarchic elements who are bent on destroying our achievements so far.”

    Addressing senior Police officers on “Crime Management & Surveillance” in Kampala yesterday, Museveni directed, “Lock them up. That language they are using is not good for attracting investment. Those threats worry people for nothing.”

    Others present were the Director of Public Prosecutions, Richard Buteera, the Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala and CID Director Elizabeth Kuteesa (right).

    “There is no trouble in the country. The politics of Uganda is stable. I keep hearing some of these confused politicians threatening that there is a crisis. All Uganda’s problems were addressed in the 1995 Constitution,” he said.

    “That is just greed. They tell me that I have not prepared a successor. But the Constitution takes care of that. While we wanted to kill off sectarianism, we championed for individual merit. We later took the initiative to open up so that those who want can leave the NRM and find new political homes. Now we are going for the referendum to let our people decide,” he said.

    Museveni urged the police to “read the Constitution. It will help you to be firm in dealing with those anarchists. We have now built up a stable system. Ensure that their disruptive acts or talks stop. Discipline them. We can’t have this indiscipline any more. Be on the side of the Constitution.”

    Free Uganda
  • Anti-dictatorship demo in Uganda crushed

    Virunga Mountains

    Riot police yesterday fired tear gas and water canons to disperse hundreds of demonstrators protesting against the move to lift presidential term limits.

    The demonstration was organised by the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). It also included members of the Democratic Party, Uganda People’s Congress, JEEMA, The Free Movement and the Conservative Party.

    Police deployed heavily at all the spots where the demonstrators were expected to gather or pass.

    Work along Kampala Road and Parliament Avenue was interrupted for the entire morning as police battled the demonstrators.

    The demonstration was meant to coincide with the first vote in Parliament on the proposal to remove term limits, a move that is widely believed will pave the way for President Yoweri Museveni to stand for re-election in 2006.
    Mr Museveni’s last constitutional term expires next year.

    The demonstration was planned to start from the Constitution Square at 10:00 pm.
    However, police deployed more than 20 officials at the venue who confiscated the demonstrators’ placards and arrested two men from the Uganda Freedom Party (UFP).

    Police claimed that the organisers of the demonstration had not informed them in advance. “The order is immediate; there is no demonstration, they should go away,” a police officer, who declined to be named, told Daily Monitor as the demonstrators were dispersed.
    Kampala Regional Police Commander, Mr Oyo Nyeko, defended the police action.

    “The opposition wrote to the Inspector General of Police but he wrote back calling off the demonstration,” Oyo told journalists at his office. “Parliament has to be informed 48 hours while the police have to be informed 72 hours before the demonstration can take place,” he added.

    The demonstrators shouted anti-third term slogans and carried several placards denouncing the no-term limits proponents. Some of them read, “253 MPs cannot decide for 24 million Ugandans. Please say no to third term;” “MPs, don’t murder our constitution, yours peasants;” “US and the donor community, come and save us;” “Pearl of Africa is Pearl of Mafia;” and “What shall we tell the children in the north born in camps?”

    Realising that they had been outnumbered, the demonstrators, mostly male youths, retreated to Crest House along Station Road singing anti-third term songs.

    From there the procession comprising boda boda riders and seven mini buses moved along Nkrumah Road, to Owino, Ben Kiwanuka Street, past CPS, Speke Road before joining Kampala Road.

    Battle begins
    What had progressed as a peaceful march suddenly became violent when police deployed five pick-up truckloads of riot police and a spray truck at the junction of Kampala Road and Parliament Avenue. The demonstrators now numbering over 100 were sprayed with peppered water. A pick-up truck carrying some of the demonstrators was abandoned in the main road.

    But the protestors did not take the punishment lying down. They threw stones at the police.
    The crowd soon melted, only to re-emerge in front of Parliament.

    But the police were there too. One parked car’s windshield was left shattered after a police rubber bullet blasted through it. Workers at Stanbic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Nile Bank and other nearby offices were seen inhaling through their handkerchiefs as the area around Parliament Avenue was filled with tear gas.
    The scuffle also attracted several MPs from Parliament where business too came to a brief halt.

    As time went by, the crowd grew smaller and eventually disappeared by 2:00 pm.
    Conspicuously, apart from the FDC’s Beti Kamya and James Musinguzi, there were no other opposition leaders in sight.

    Reposted from Monitor Media

    Free Uganda