Museveni orders military to kill civilians who show their discontent over brutality
By Moses Ssejjoba
President Museveni on Tuesday issued a shoot-to-kill order for civilians who show discontent over the brutality meted out to them by security forces. This is just unconscionable coming from a head of state, all human rights organizations in Kampala concur.
For over two weeks now, Ugandans have faced the full wrath of security forces; the military, police and LDUs as they enforced a lockdown ostensibly to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Images of pregnant women getting beaten up have done the rounds. Museveni’s enforcers have invaded people’s homes and clobbered them, never mind that the curfew was aimed at encouraging people to stay at home. “The thuggery has gotten out of order, with the so-called security forces only interested in brutalizing then robbing from people,” said one Hakim Mubiru of Nakulabye.
One heavily pregnant woman, 23-year old Mercy Nakate is not sure she will deliver her baby safely following torture last month on 27 at the hands of army men, police men and members of LDU militias. A resident of Busega, Lubaga Division Nakate was caught up by curfew when it rained as she returned to buy medicine.
“The other people ran away but given my condition, I could not run. They descended on me, hitting and kicking me despite my cries for mercy,” Nakate said, crying.
Food vendors have been beaten up by the army from their stalls selling food, which is considered an essential commodity and hence ought to remain in operation during the lockdown. Their food has been looted by the so-called forces of law and order.
All this has happened mostly in Kampala, oftentimes in full glare of cameras, of both the media, and the phones of ordinary people.
According to reports, things have been more horrendous in the countryside.
With Museveni announcing an extra 21 days of lockdown, many Ugandans are gripped with fear of what is to come – with an army given explicit orders to shoot to kill by the ruler. “You are not going to throw stones at them and then you injure them; just shoot them,” Museveni said to the military during his media briefing at Nakasero State House.
There have been widespread accusations of gross misconduct by the security forces especially in the villages, where officers have broken into people’s houses, raped women and looted anything they could get their hands on. “Many other atrocities are going unreported during this lockdown especially in villages where people do not have access to social media.
“Now that Museveni has ordered his military to kill, only God knows what will happen,” said a senior journalist that works for a daily paper in Kampala who requested not to be named.
The incident Museveni based on to issue this directive took place in Kisoro District, where the military ravaged a village, beating many, raping and looting at the beginning of the lockdown order. In frustration the people retaliated when they saw a UPDF vehicle and pelted it with stones.
Different commentators have expressed disappointment in Museveni over this irrational directive, which the army is sure to use to commit even worse atrocities than they already have. What Museveni has done now is give them a blank check, it is obvious.
Since he took power in 1986 he has been touting his army as “a pro-people force”; why is he not investigating why people are so discontent to the point of pelting them with stones wherever they pass?, many wonder. The discontent over Museveni’s army is widespread, up and down Uganda.
During the weekend one Private Alex Niwanyine was attacked in northern Uganda, losing an eye. The irate citizens, fed up with the brutalities of Museveni’s security forces almost killed Niwanyine.
Observers are concerned that Museveni’s unprofessional forces will see incidents such as Niwanyine’s to unleash terror.
On the other hand Ugandans on social media are calling Museveni out for enforcing a lockdown with no social safety nets, to keep citizens guaranteed of basic provisions. The result, people say, will be that desperate populations will just disobey the curfew; even if it means getting shot by the security men.
“We have seen many contributions being made but what systems are in place to ensure the bona fide beneficiaries get them? A father of five will not simply sit in this house to see his children die of hunger; he will simply defy the lockdown,” said vocal MP Mohammed Nsereko.
As if that is not enough, Uganda’s response to coronavirus continues to raise eyebrows among many. A cabinet Minister, Peace Mutuuzo, on Tuesday said that the lockdown was extended to ensure 18,000 people who entered Uganda during the past weeks can be tracked and tested.
This raises the question: if only a few hundred people have been tested over the past month; how is the regime going to track down and test 18,000 people?
Regime spin doctors are yet to come up with an answer.