Expatriates demand President Steps down

Source: Norman S. Miwambo

EXPATRIATE Ugandans living in the United Kingdom on Saturday, April 9, camped outside the country' Mission at Trafalgar Square in London, calling for a re-run for free and fair general election in Uganda.

The demonstrations with a theme “Democracy Must Prevail in Uganda”, followed what is perceived by all opposition leaders as a massive vote rigging that saw Yoweri Kaguta Museveni retaining power after the February 18, elections.

Religious leaders, civil rights and human rights activists braved the scorching sun in support of Ugandans to deliver their message to the international community.

The demonstrators like other opposition candidates disputed the February elections and demand that Museveni should not be sworn-in as the country's legally elected president on May 12. They also attacked the Western governments for turning a blind-eye to Museveni's atrocities and their way of reacting to African affairs.

Among the demands, the demonstrators included; an immediate re-run of the general elections, appointing of a new non-partisan and an independent Electoral Commission and a clean and new voters' register be compiled with new voter cards must be issued to all voters. Other demands, the withdraw of all armed forces from providing security during elections which is a duty for the police. An opportunity be accorded to all candidates and voters must be civically educated without discrimination irrespective of their political party affiliation.

“We shall continue with such demonstrations until the world heed to our demands,” said Ms Betty Atiku, one of the organizer, adding: “Uganda's problems need international attention like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria or any other country where citizens are suppressed.”

Ms Atiku warned, that: “Given the current situation in the country where corruption is condoned by the leader, even foreign interests will be at risk if this situation is not tackled.”

“Museveni stole the elections with a sole motive to consolidate his power so that he can continue to protect his cronies who are swindling funds meant for the treatment of AIDS/HIV patients, funds for protecting early childhood nutrition and Tuberculosis and Malaria,” said Ms Atiku. She was referring to ministers and other government officials who allegedly swindled $ 36.3 million (Approximately £ 22. 37 million), $20.75 million (£12.786 million) and $40 million (£24.6 million) for the Global Fund on AIDS/ HIV, protection of early childhood nutrition and Tuberculosis and Malaria respectively. The funds were meant for the treatment of all Ugandans.

“With the discovery of oil in the country, if the political situation in the country is not checked not even the companies that invested in the oil venture will get a genuine deal,” says Ms. Atiku. Another organizer, Richard Semitego said that: “To avoid what happened in Rwanda 17 years ago, the western world should be zealous to listen to our concerns.”

“All evils in the country hinged on Museveni. He is the architecture of corruption in the country,” said Mr Semitogo, adding that: “It's the time now for the international community to know that Museveni is a dictator, like Gaddafi [Libyan leader Col. Maummar Gaddafi] , Mugabe[ Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe] Gbagbo [Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo].”

“We don't have medicine in our hospitals, no social services, no democracy,” said Mr. Semitego. He added: “Our major concern is the just concluded elections in Uganda, is the reason why we are here to tell the world.”

“The elections were massively rigged, do not recognize Museveni as president of Uganda, and should step down like in Egypt and Tunisia,” said Semitego.