Under a tent at the Magere residence of the former National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the European Union (EU) delegation tried to convince the opposition politician to accept to go into talks with President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni and save the country from slipping into anarchy.
To the meeting, Attilio Pacifici, the head of the EU delegation in Uganda led nine other ambassadors from the EU member countries while Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) had his deputies Dr. Lina Zedriga (Northern Uganda) and Mathias Mpuuga (Buganda region) as well as the NUP secretary-general, David Lewis Rubongoya, spokesman, Joel Ssenyonyi and women’s league leader Flavia Nabagabe Kalule.
Journalists were not allowed in the meeting but knowledgeable sources have told us that the ambassadors’ push for Kyagulanyi and the NUP to dialogue with Museveni fell flat as the music star cum politician told the diplomats that the only talks he can go into are those involving the people of Uganda.
“We don’t want a dialogue between NUP and Museveni, if there is to be any dialogue, it should be a dialogue of Ugandans having representation from all the progressive opposition political parties, the civil society, religious and cultural institutions that can shape the future of our country,” Kyagulanyi reportedly told the envoys.
Museveni was declared winner of the January 14 election with 6,042,898 votes representing 58.38 percent while Kygaulanyi garnered 3,631,437 votes representing 35 percent, according to the Electoral Commission (EC) official tally.
Kyagulanyi rejected the results as fraudulent sighting various electoral malpractices which he claimed affected the outcome – raising fears of an uprising that can affect the country’s stability.
The diplomats told the NUP team that they are more concerned about Uganda’s peace, and knowing that Kyagulanyi enjoys wide popularity especially among the youths, they are likely to respond once the former presidential candidate calls for protests.
In wanting not to sound offensive to Kyagulanyi, the envoys said that they recognise the achievements his party registered in the elections and urged him that even if the election petition is not determined in his favour, he should forge ahead and concentrate on building his young political party as well as consolidate the gains.
The NUP team however told the diplomats that their participation in the 2021 elections was for a purpose which they are determined to achieve.
Kyagulanyi reportedly told his guests that the NUP does not expect much from the election petition since their going to court is not about getting a judgement but to expose the decayed system and other state players.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, Ssenyonyi said that they told the EU team about the continued human rights abuses committed by security personnel on NUP supporters.
“The delegation was concerned about the issues we raised mostly Human rights violations like illegal arrests of our members, abductions and brutality that has been meted out to our supporters, malpractice tendencies by Museveni and his team”, Ssenyonyi said.
Ssenyonyi also said that they told the team to speak to President Museveni to stop acts of brutality and violence on opposition supporters.
Pacifici said they met NUP leadership to hear their concerns following last month’s elections. He also said that they will meet other political parties.
Last month, the EU condemned the pre-election excesses by the security forces and the shutting down of the internet which disrupted social media.
The EU called on the government to respect the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful and safe assembly, including the free movement of all political actors and their supporters.