By Sarah Kibisi
A civil rights organization, Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), has this afternoon called for the unconditional release of political abductees and account for each missing persons.
CCEDU’s Executive Director Ms Charity Ahimbizibwe made the statement on Wednesday in an interview at Muyenga, upscale Kampala. The statement comes at the height of a puzling security situation involving missing persons allegedly held by security agencies following a hotly contested general election in the country.
“As a way forward, we unequivocally demand that the authorities account for each of the missing persons,” said Ahimbizibwe.
Ms Ahimbisibwe said that they have opened a phone line 0704-221605 that the public can call in case they have missing relatives.
She added that CCEDU will compile each case that will be submitted to the network of public interest litigation lawyers for follow up.
Ahimbizibwe noted that CCEDU is concerned that the majority of the kidnapped persons are the youth who have for long been skeptical of participating in electoral processes and now that they came out in big numbers and exercised their rights to participate as guaranteed in Article 38 of the Uganda Constitution.
The provision spells out the right for citizens to participate in the affairs of government, individually or through his or her representatives in accordance with law).
“These are steps in the backward direction of the electoral democracy that CCEDU has defended and promoted over the years” She said.
The story of missing persons trended on different media platforms and it captured the attention of President Museveni later on issued a statement to the effect that every Ugandans life will be accounted for.
“Despite the president’s encouraging statement, the questions around abducted Ugandans still abound. Even parliament debated the issue twice and tasked the police and security forces to account for all Ugandans, but this accountability has not come through yet” She added.
On allegations that some NGOs support certain parties which she dismissed saying that they are non partisan and non political.
The Internal Affairs Minister, Gen. Jeje Odongo while appearing on the floor of parliament in the recent past first presented a list of 44 people whom he said he police had arrested. He later returned with a list of 177 peoples, whom he said were under custody. The 177 were part of the names on the list of the 213 missing persons.
According to CCEDU ED, an insurrection is unconstitutional and the organization remains cognizant of the non-derogable right to a fair, speedy and public hearing of a suspect before an independent and impartial court or tribunal.