Kenya’s ODM party: Assault on Bobi Wine, others does not sit well with democratic principles
POLITICS | Kenya’a main opposition party, Orange for Democratic Movement (ODM), has decried the continued harassment and detention of Opposition politicians in Uganda and called for sustained peaceful revolution against the government of Yoweri Museveni.
In a statement, the party that is led by Raila Odinga, said it has been watching with concern ongoings in Uganda with regard to the “arrest, torture and sham prosecutions” of Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, and his other colleagues.
The Friday statement, signed by Edwin Sifuna, ODM secretary general, and John Mbadi, the CPA Chairman, the Kenyan opposition said it has monitored the situation “quietly with the expectation that the various interventions from across the world would bring pressure to bear on the regime to do the right thing” but that it was now forced to speak out due to the deterioration of affairs in the country.
“We are saddened by the fact that even after leaving custody with injuries that needed treatment abroad, Kyagulanyi was stopped from leaving Uganda, and in the most callous and inhumane manner,” ODM said.
Kyagulanyi, better known by his stage name as Bobi Wine, was blocked from travelling abroad for treatment Thursday evening, a few hours after his equally badly brutalized colleague Francisco Zaake was also blocked st the airport.
Bobi Wine was targeted for special torture by the military upon his arrest following the August 13 chaotic events in Arua when President Museveni accused him of inciting his supporters to block his motorcade and pelt it with stones.
He was detained by the military and initially charged by the General Court Martial before the trumped up charges were dropped.
However, he didn’t walk away to freedom as Police arrested him immediately and charged him with separate ofences before a civilian court.
Although Bobi Wine and others were granted bail, the state continues to block their effort to seek specialized treatment for injuries sustained during the detention.
ODM walks in
Amid global pressure against particular treatment of pop-politician Bobi Wine, Kenyans have led the protests against Museveni government both in Kenya and on social media.
Several pressure groups and students have organised demos at Uganda High Commisision Nairobi against the detention of Bobi Wine.
Explaining their interest in Uganda’s internal political affairs, ODM said Uganda is a key cog in the East African Community, a key trading partner of Kenya and a country whose stability, or lack thereof, often has an impact on Kenya.
“Besides, the barely concealed tendency of its President, Yoweri Museveni, to assert political influence on its neighbours, including Kenya, makes it a country of great interest to us as a Party,” ODM said.
The party added that in its eleven years of existence, it has remained steadfast in its fight for freedom and justice, and remains cognizant of the fact that greater freedom, not just in Kenya, but across Africa, is key to democracy and development of all Africans.
“The assault on the freedom of Hon Kyagulanyi and his colleagues does not sit well with this principlemail,” it said.
Going forward, ODM urged all parties in Uganda to “urgently embrace the values of democracy and justice,” saying that, ultimately, dictatorship in the modern world remains unsustainable.
“More importantly, we demand that the rights, dignity and freedom of Kyagulanyi be respected by the regime. In particular, he must be allowed to immediately access the medical attention he deserves on humanitarian grounds. There are no two ways about this,” ODM said.
Government functionaries have always lambasted foreign commentaries on Uganda’started political issues, and the bold stance ODM has taken will no doubt touche the nerves.
However, ODM says it will keep an eye on these unfolding events, and has called on the forces of democracy and peaceful revolution to remain unwavering and firm in their resolve.