EU Ambassador to Uganda pins Kayihura
Kale Kayihura breaks down as EU Ambassador to Uganda pins him on US sanctions, he's guilty. File Photo

The EU Ambassador to Uganda has implied that sanctions imposed against former Uganda Police Force boss Gen Kale Kayihura are logical and principle.

While speaking during a debate themed the role of parliament in shaping representative democracy Ambassador Pacifici said that even Uganda had itself slapped charges against Kayihura, something that gives credence and truth to the US sanctions.

The debate was organized by the European Union and Makerere University.

It was held at Makerere University as part of the celebrations to mark the International Democracy day 2019.

“These sanctions to the former IGP, I’m an observer on these issues as much as you’re. These sanctions are being imposed by the US but I can see the logic and principle of it. If I see that my friend here has done something wrong, I don’t want him in my country, I don’t.

“So I will tell Kale; you’re not welcome to my country because I know you have done something I don’t like because it is not in line with my values and my friendship. But this is what the Americans are saying. Who am I to say no,” said Pacifici.

According to EU Ambassador to Uganda Pacifici, even the European Union would have equally acted the same if they had the evidence at the disposal of the US.

“If the EU had had all kind of evidence and elements that have informed the decision, of course, the EU might have well have come to the same conclusion,” Pacifici added.

Last week, the US imposed visa restrictions and economic sanctions to Kayihura and his family over alleged corruption and human rights abuses.

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Kayihura in a long missive denied the accusations, saying he did most of his work with the US authorities – implying that if he’s guilty, then the US is equally guilty.

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said that it has credible information that Kayihura was involved in torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, through command responsibility of the Flying Squad, a specialized unit of the Uganda Police Force that reported directly to him.

The Flying Squad Unit members reportedly used sticks and rifle butts to abuse detainees at the infamous Nalufenya detention facility in Jinja. 

Detainees also reported that after being subjected to the abuse, they were offered significant sums of money if they confessed to their involvement in the crime.

Also, Kayihura allegedly engaged in numerous acts of corruption including using bribery to strengthen his political position within the government of Uganda, stealing funds intended for official Ugandan government business, and using another government employee to smuggle illicit goods, including drugs, gold, and wildlife, out of Uganda.

Meanwhile, during the same debate, Pacifici also called on the Ugandan government to avoid treat all citizens fairly regardless of their social status.

Ambassador Pacifici says if Uganda is looking to achieve full democracy then it must ensure equal treatment of all its citizens as one of the main principles of democracy.

“It is crucial that every Ugandan is given equal treatment so that they can participate fully in democratic processes. That is the only way you can hold your leaders accountable,” Ambassador Pacifici said.  

With participants from all angles including youths, Members of Parliament, representatives of the diplomatic missions, development partners and civil society organisations in attendance, Pacifici insisted said that few countries in the world can declare themselves fully democratic.

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Ambassador Pacifici also added that democracies worldwide face several challenges but noted that these problems should never stand in the way of realization of total democracy.

He, however, admitted that it is not an easy process for countries to realize total democracy, adding countries like Uganda are still facing challenges as they try to adapt to the complex and fast-changing dynamics of the world.

Pacifici said that in Uganda, just like in other countries parliament plays a crucial role in regards to shaping representative democracy.

By John Dalton Kigozi