Uganda: Stop arrests, detention, and targeting of opposition leaders and activists ahead of inauguration

Ugandan authorities must stop targeting opposition leaders and arresting and detaining political and civil activists ahead of the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni on 12 May 2021, says global civil society alliance CIVICUS.

Violence and arbitrary detentions have been unleashed on members of the opposition, and the homes of Bobi Wine, Leader of the National Unity Platform, and Dr Kizza Besugye, four-times presidential candidate, are currently under siege.

Key political figures and activists have had their fundamental freedoms violated in the run-up to the swearing-in of President Museveni, who starts his sixth term in office following much-disputed elections. The arrest of over 40 activists ahead of the inauguration of Yoweri Museveni must be condemned.

Background: Uganda went to the polls on 14 January 2021 for presidential, parliamentary and local government elections. The electoral process was marred by violence, intimidation, illegal detention, and killings. Opposition leaders were repeatedly hounded and arrested, and several activists and journalists were arrested and detained. In November 2020 over 70 activists were killed during a protest in Kampala while over 250 were kidnapped and others arrested. To date more than 60 activists remain in detention without charge.

The presidential electoral outcomes have been denounced by many former presidential candidates, who have since rejected invitations to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

Civic space in Uganda is rated as repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor.