Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Presidential and parliamentary elections took place in Uganda on 14 January 2021, with the incumbent President Museveni returned for his sixth term with 58% of the vote, while his key challenger Robert Kyagulanyi (known as Bobi Wine) garnered 35% of the vote.
The President's reinauguration took place on 12 May 2021, with no legal challenges against the result outstanding. This was notwithstanding a campaign during which opposition candidates, journalists, and civil society actors were harassed. At times there were credible reports of the excessive use of force, notably in November 2020 during which at least 54 Ugandans were killed. The Uganda government has promised accountability. In December 2021, two soldiers were convicted for killing three people during this period, but further investigations remain outstanding.
Ireland, along with other EU Member States, has called on the Ugandan government to respect the freedoms and rights of all political actors and their supporters, and for full investigation of allegations of violations. Ireland has raised concerns about the November violence and the human rights situation in the country directly with Ugandan government interlocutors, including the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and directly with the President.
I visited Uganda in October and heard from a broad range of civil society stakeholders and human rights leaders active in Uganda. I expressed Ireland’s continued support for their work and for civil society in Uganda. I also met with Uganda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jeje Odongo. Our discussions included challenges in relation to civil society space; evolving regional developments; and Ireland’s support for the COVID-19 response in Uganda. In our high-level engagements and through the ongoing work of our Ambassador and the Embassy of Ireland to Uganda, Ireland will continue to raise issues of concern in relation to civil society space and human rights in Uganda with key stakeholders and at the highest levels of government.
In mid-November, four civilians were killed and several dozen injured following two coordinated bomb attacks in Uganda's capital Kampala. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan rebel group largely confined to the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), are believed to be responsible for the attacks. In response, the Ugandan and DRC defence forces have launched joint military operations in eastern DRC targeted at the ADF. Ireland, alongside other EU Member States, is monitoring the situation closely. At the UN Security Council, Ireland has stressed that the joint military operations must ensure a strong focus on the protection of civilians and human rights. We have also emphasised the need for strong and effective communication with MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC, in relation to the ongoing operations.