There is consensus that the elections results from presidential to the lowest level are illegitimate for two main reasons: disenfranchising some five million Uganda voters and allowing an equal number of foreigners to vote for NRM candidates including the president. The Commonwealth Observer Team concluded that the electoral cycle lacked a level playing field.
The disenfranchised voters are demanding that a transitional coalition government be established to prepare for fresh free and fair elections. In this regard, we applaud the efforts being made by religious leaders to bring the opposition parties and NRM to work out a mutually acceptable political arrangement. The discussions must therefore focus on a transitional government. The idea of giving cabinet posts to opposition presidential candidates with a view to forming a government of national unity is not acceptable. Ugandans also demand that the discussions must be transparent and the terms of reference made public. Secret deals are not welcome.
Meanwhile peaceful demonstrations will continue at home and abroad. We want to thank the security forces for the restraint so far. In this regard a word of thanks goes to Kale Kayihura and Aronda Nyakairima for exercising their professionalism and for not allowing their men and women in uniform to shoot or arrest peaceful demonstrators. We ask that the use of tear gas and shooting in the air to intimidate and disperse demonstrators be stopped. Liberty has been trampled by concerns for security. We now want our liberty back. And we shall not rest until it is restored.
Let us remind ourselves: the people of Uganda have a right to assemble anywhere in Uganda at any time. They do not need permission for that. What they must do is to inform the police when and where the demonstrations will take place. The police therefore cannot deny Ugandans their right of peaceful assembly. All they do is to make sure law and order is maintained. Demonstrators are not enemies that must be attacked and killed or taken prisoner.
The Commander-in-Chief must also understand that he cannot authorize security forces to undertake actions against demonstrators that violate the right of peaceful assembly. The Rome Statue of International Criminal Court does not spare anyone including heads of state who commits or instructs others to commit crimes against humanity.
If we all work together in a spirit of tolerance we can resolve this problem peacefully.