By Our Correspondent
USA: Michael Richard Pompeo is an American politician, diplomat, businessman, and attorney who, since April 2018, has been serving as 70th United States secretary of state. He is a former United States Army officer and was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 until April 2018.
On Thursday, through his official Twitter handle, warned Ugandan top security personnel who reportedly continue to ‘impede’ democratic processes in Uganda through extrajudicial killings, electoral violence among other Human Rights violations.
“The United States is a long-standing partner of Uganda. We expect our partners to live up to their obligations to hold free and fair elections. We’re paying close attention to the actions of individuals who seek to impede the ongoing democratic process,” Pompeo said through his tweet.
Uganda goes to the poll on January,14,2021. Over 100 people have since lost lives by shooting reportedly by various government security organs, with hundreds still in detention facilities.
In addition, Pompeo via a statement published on the US Department for State website says repeated violence and excessive use of force by security forces are deeply troubling hence tasking the government to ensure the safety of all candidates, respect the right of peaceful assembly of all Ugandans, and ensure that election authorities and security forces act impartially.
He added, ‘We also call on the Ugandan government to create a safe environment for civil society and non-governmental organizations to undertake election training and monitoring.”
Furious Secretary Pompeo warned that while measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are imperative, they must not be used as justification for repression and violence adding that security officials responsible for the excessive use of force must be held to account, and candidates must be afforded freedom of movement and access to media.
“Political violence, repression, and intimidation have no place in democracies,” he added.
He warned that the US is paying close attention to the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process and will not hesitate to consider serious consequences for those responsible for election-related violence and repression.
For our new readers, these come after a yesterday Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States House of Representatives Eliot L. Engel wrote to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and US Department of Treasury Secretary, Steven T. Munching, asking them among others to utilize the authority of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Act) to designate individuals “who may be responsible for the violation of human rights in Uganda in recent years.
Among the tasks he wants Pompeo to accomplish against Uganda over violation of human rights is to provide the Committee with the following information in writing not later than January 9, 2021.
1.An overview of the U.S. government’s engagement with the Government of Uganda, Opposition political parties, and civil society organizations with respect to the 2021 elections, and how such engagement differs from previous elections;
2.An assessment of the impact that several years of violent repression and impunity for gross human rights abuses have had on the Ugandan political environment;
3.A detailed list of all United States security assistance and law enforcement capacity-building efforts with Ugandan security forces since FY15;
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4.An accounting, in classified form if necessary, of Uganda’s compliance with end-use monitoring requirements and cooperation with Leahy vetting requirements.
5.An assessment of the risks to U.S. interests in East and Central Africa of continuing work by, with, and through an increasingly authoritarian partner who has exhibited indications of a succession plan, and a plan to mitigate said risks over the next five years;
6.A plan to intensify the U.S. response to human rights abuses beyond rhetor condemnations and work with the Government of Uganda and local non-government organizations to secure accountability for citizens who have been subjected to arbit arrests, torture, and extrajudicial killings.