Human Rights Watch
1630 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington DC 20009
Thank you for honouring your promise to include me, and the Government of Uganda, on those with a right to be heard, before publishing your next report on Uganda.
I have no doubt in my mind that his method of work will advance the cause of protection and preservation of human rights in Uganda.
1. Uganda 1962 Independence Constitution was abrogated in 1966 opening a sad chapter in our history where many sections of the political elite believe that power can only be accessed through the barrel of the gun.
2. Uganda borders with Rwanda to the south, where, many perpetrators of the 1994 genocide are still at large, DRC to the west which is a failed state with the size of western Europe, and Sudan to the north being the largest country in Africa still dominated by an Islamic fundamentalist group and a war which has been raging on its border with Uganda for almost 40 yrs.
3. The Government of Uganda has confronted, defeated and integrated over 15 armed groups since 1986 including UPDA, HOLY SPIRIT, UPA, UNRF I AND II, WNBF, FDA, UFM, ADF, FOBA, UCDA, NDA, NOM, NALU etc.
LRA in northern Uganda, ADF and PRA in Eastern DRC are still active and coordinated. Some elements formerly in the groups above are unemployed and regularly contacted by political groups for recruitment to support their “cause.”
4. The LRA which abducts children and arms them has displaced over 1.5 Million people and continues to cause mayhem, like the recent Barlonyo massacre on behalf of Sudan. All attempts to talk peace with its terrorists leaders have not borne fruits.
5. Uganda is managing a post-Congo conflict which had attracted 6 other national armies from August 98 to June 2003. The DDRRR which was an important element of the Lusaka Cease fire Agreement of 1999 was never implemented by the International Community . Armed groups still operate in the DRC.
6. Uganda has gone through an 8 year Constitution making process with a very wide consultative mechanism leading to a Constitution that among other things;
a. Makes the army subordinate to civilian authority and control.
b. Decentralises power from the centre to the districts.
c. Entrenches a strict legal and administrative regime for the preservation and protection of fundamental rights and freedoms.
d. Establishes among others a broad based political system to encompass the diverse cultural, historical, political and economical interests of all.
e. Establishes a broad system of political representation to include special interest group of women, people with disability, youth, workers and the army.
f. Establishes an independent Judiciary which regularly exercises its powers including issuing writs of habeas corpus to grant freedom to suspects not presented to court in time.
g. Establishes a permanent human rights commission with powers of a high court.
7. To support this young democratic order, Government started a universal primary education programme 7 years ago which is fundamentally changing the spectrum in the peoples’ knowledge of their rights and freedoms.
8. Uganda Government was among the first in Africa to enact a law establishing and regulating the functions of Intelligence services and in particular the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms of the people.
9. A very free media which is supporting the democratisation programme and human rights.
10. However obstacles include a small, poorly facilitated and motivated police force of approximately 16,000 compared to a population of over 24 million. It needs support from other security organs to do its work at least in the short run, till it is able to handle it alone.
11. A negative culture among sections of the political elite going for elections only to win.
They use religion, ethic divisions and are ready to be used by extra-Ugandan interests to access power.
Even when they go to court to contest the results of the elections, they do not respect the verdict of the courts and resort to violence including coordinating with terrorist groups like the PRA, LRA, and ADF. When this does not bring immediate results they adopt disinformation campaign taking advantage of the weaknesses of our economies (most of which are donor supported) to malign the government with unsubstantiated allegations.
12. As an advocate of the High Court majoring in human rights, in addition to my military intelligence duties, I am of the considered view that to get a comprehensive and unbiased picture of the human rights situation in Uganda, you may consider;
a. Establishing a minimum presence in Uganda or if this is not possible,
b. A working relationship with independent and impartial groups.
c. Regular visits to the affected areas to assess for yourselves the workings of the Government especially in the area of accountability and good governance.
Looking forward to a closer and constructive relationship with you.
NOBLE MAYOMBO (MP)
CHIEF MILITARY INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY.