Several Human Rights organizations have condemned the arrest of human rights activists outside the Ugandan Embassy in Nairobi.
According to Amnesty International, police have arrested four human rights activists who had gone to the Ugandan Embassy in solidarity with Ugandans.
The four are Hussein Khalid, Waithera Beatrice, Yassah Musa, and Ojiro Odhiambo. Hussein Khalid is the Executive Director of the human rights body, Haki Africa.
Not a crime
Amnesty International Kenya condemned the act, saying that standing up for human rights was not a crime.
We demand the release of @HakiAfrica ED, @husskhalid, Waithera Beatrice, Yassah Musa, and Ojiro Odhiambo, who were arrested outside the Ugandan Embassy for speaking against the injustices in Uganda. Standing up for human rights is not a crime. #UgandaDecides2021 pic.twitter.com/JImJLboSGN
— Amnesty Kenya (@AmnestyKenya) January 13, 2021
The Kenya Human Rights Commission, on the other hand, termed the arrest of the activists as an abuse of power. The body also said that persecution of activists by prosecuting them was the mark of authoritarianism.
“We demand the release of @husskhalid and all those arrested today,” KHRC said in a tweet.
The arrest of @HakiAfrica ED @husskhalid for speaking against injustices in Uganda represents severe abuse of power & restricting the civil society. Persecution thru prosecution is the hallmark of authoritarianism.
— KHRC (@thekhrc) January 13, 2021
Protest against systematic oppression
The activists made their way to the Ugandan Embassy early Wednesday morning. They intended to protest police brutality and call for free and fair elections in Uganda.
They were also there to speak up against Uganda’s government’s systematic intimidation of the opposition. However, the police did not allow the activists to read their statement at Uganda House, Nairobi.
The security agencies disrupted the event, lobbed teargas canisters, and arrested the four.
— Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) (@MUHURIkenya) January 13, 2021
The most heated election in recent past
Ugandans will be going for their Presidential and Parliamentary elections tomorrow (January 14). It is one of the most heated elections that Uganda will have in recent memory.
Indeed, Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine had emerged as a formidable opponent to the incumbent, Yoweri Museveni. However, Museveni has been using security agencies to disrupt and intimidate the opposition leaders.
Last night, he blocked access to all social media sites, terming them biased towards the opposition. The move came after Facebook banned several accounts linked to NRM, Museveni’s party. Facebook, though, said that the accounts violated its community guidelines.
Bobi Wine, indeed, has a large following among young Ugandans, mostly in urban centres, though Museveni remains popular in rural areas.