Civil Society under Human Rights Network Uganda, (HURINET-U) a 53-member human rights organization, have raised alarm concerning the role of security agencies in the approaching 2016 general election.
Under the theme, “Towards a peaceful election, the role of security agencies in fostering a peaceful election” organized by Uganda Law society at Golf course Hotel, Kampala, Human rights Network for Journalists. (HRNJ) Project officer Robert Sempala highlighted the use of vigilante groups and the failure of UPDF to rein over their operations. Vigilante groups, 247 Youth, unemployed youth, Kalangala action plan, Truth for justice, were some of those pointed out.
“We do not see action taken for example, Crime preventers and their role in partisan politics, who are these, are they NRM cadres, police If they are allied to a political party, which crime will they prevent? the timing of their recruitment, why now? there is no standardized curriculum for crime preventers, we don’t know their database, how many are they?” noted Ssempala.
Makerere University Political history Professor Mwambutsya Ndebesa also remarked on the vigilante question noting. “Alternate civil militias are creating candidates for prosecution at ICC.”
The University don also took the opportunity to pin media houses for undertaking less investigative journalism, “How come no one followed up the car in Ishaka that was spotted tearing down Amama Mbabazi posters, What about the helicopter that landed at Mbabazi rally, did it really belong to Mike Mukula or Uganda Police?
Other concerns raised in the HURINET 2015 preliminary report include the role of security agencies in electoral process, the safety of Police officers and other law enforcers, nomination of candidates, the preparedness of security agencies to police the 2016 general elections, Persistence of police brutality, Amama Mbabazi factor in electoral process, military officers seeking to participate in partisan politics, among others.
Other actors represented at the launch included, Electoral Commission, Uganda law society, and Citizens coalition for electoral Democracy (CCEDU)
HURINET-U, a thematic group under Citizens Election Observer Network (CEON) will continue to monitor security issues this electoral season.