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NUP’S Kyagulanyi withdraws complaint filed at Uganda Human Rights Commission

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The National Unity Platform (NUP) President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, aka Bobi Wine, has withdrawn his complaint from the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), which he filed against the government five years ago for canceling his music shows.

Bobi Wine accused the Commission and its chairperson, Mariam Wangadya, of lack of impartiality in hearing his case.

The musician turned politician filed the complaint on December 7, 2018, saying that security agencies blocked over 20 of his music concerts, confiscated his music equipment, and denied several people their right to earn a living “simply because of my political affiliation.”

Bobi Wine and his legal team today, Monday, appeared before the Commission chaired by Ms. Wangadya.

During the engagement, the NUP Principal told Wangadya and the Commission members that the Commission, which is empowered by the Constitution to protect constitutional rights, is the one violating those rights.

“How can a complaint regarding human rights violations take more than five years to be heard? Madam Chairperson, what kind of commission are you presiding over? Over time, many other atrocities and grave human rights violations have been meted out to many supporters of the political party I lead, the National Unity Platform (NUP). These have included arbitrary arrests, extra-judicial killings, detentions without trial, torture, rape, and sodomy in detention, trials of civilians in military courts on trumped-up charges, and enforced disappearances. Today, some of our supporters, who were abducted by security, are still missing and unaccounted for. Some of these complaints have reached this Commission, but the security agencies have continued to commit these crimes against our people with impunity!” Bobi Wine told the Commission.

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“To our disappointment, we have not only seen inaction by this Commission against the perpetrators, but we have also heard public statements from the leadership of this Commission, not only mocking the victims but also attributing the blame entirely on them. Madam Chairperson, you yourself have shamelessly told the mothers, spouses, and children of our missing persons that their missing loved ones were ghosts! Because of these circumstances, our confidence in this commission is gravely shaken. The Commission, which was put in place to protect rights and freedoms, has turned out to be an accomplice in the gross violations that have come to define our nation,” he added.

Bobi Wine expressed his disappointment at the Commission, saying that a specialized tribunal, which is supposed to be faster than a court of law, is hearing his complaint five years after he filed it.

He described the Monday hearing of his complaint as intended to “sanitize the criminality and disregard of the law.”

“Nothing meaningful can come out of this hearing. So because of that, I hereby withdraw the complaint we filed over five years ago for the reasons mentioned above. In my view, this Commission has serious reflection to make and decide whether it intends to serve the people of Uganda or to continue serving the interests of Gen. Museveni and his military regime,” Bobi Wine told the Commission.

This is not the first time Bobi Wine and the Uganda Human Rights Commission have publicly smeared each other.

At the beginning of May, Wangadya rebuked Bobi Wine over his remarks regarding the Commission’s handling of jailed NUP supporters.

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Bobi Wine had accused the Uganda Human Rights Commission and its Chairperson, Ms. Wangadya, of endeavoring to silence NUP supporters and intimidate their families.

In response, Wangadya said that Bobi Wine’s remarks were misleading, misplaced, and regrettable.

“It is our position that we have at all times received, investigated, and condemned all forms of human rights violations whenever they occur, and we continue to do so. Through our Human Rights Tribunal and other mechanisms, we have consistently taken action to address every reported human rights complaint, and Hon. Kyagulanyi himself has previously filed complaints with us whose hearings are currently underway. In fact, one of his complaints is coming up this month for the second time; the first hearing was aborted due to his own unavailability,” said Wangadya.

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