The violent conduct exhibited by some organised group at the burial of Jakana Nadduli (MHSRIEP), son of Al Hajji Hon. Abdul Nadduli, must be condemned in the strongest and most exemplary terms.
The group descended on a mourner, one Majambere Kamuntu, and assaulted him to near death. Up to now I have not fully established what prompted them to act that way; what he did to attract their wrath. I am made to believe that it was for his political beliefs. If that is the case, the manner in which he was attacked must be condemned by all right thinking members of society and people of goodwill. It’s an attack on the right to belong and to associate.
To make matters worse, this was a burial-a very solemn occasion of sending off our brother and friend, a time of great reflection to dedicate ourselves and the departed into the graces of Allah. How could it be that anyone could choose then to display their pagan side? Do they fear God anymore? Did they have any respect for the bereaved or the deceased? Couldn’t they wait for the burial to end and speak to Majambere if they had any differences to settle with him?
Mob action and violence is illegal and not one of the ways to settle out arguments. From where I am, I don’t think that they achieved anything other than disrupting Jakana’s sendoff in full view of the public including his parents. Do they have parents of their own? Do they know when their time will come? Is that how their day should be? Jakana was outspoken but not violent.
While I don’t know how Majambere’s attackers were raised, I harbour little doubt that they are engaged in more such acts of bloodletting and violence than we saw in a flash. A person who fights at a funeral, in full view of the public, what more can they do out of public view or in the deep night? Security should probe this incident closely, but fairly!
That said, where are the very vocal human rights activists in this matter? For 24 hours after the incident, I waited to hear them speak out but I couldn’t detect any. Only the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) came out after some days; of course, with UHRC, I know that they have a process before issuing statements that includes receiving a complaint and doing preliminary investigations before issuing a statement. None of the other organisations or individuals famous for standing up for the vulnerable has come out up to now. Their silence is too loud, as they say. Am I totally surprised? Of course not!
For some time now, a pattern has been developing, where in the so called human rights defenders only defend members of one side and usually based on political creed. I am sure many people have been following this trend and it speaks for itself. The so called human rights advocates are always so quick to speak up in certain instances, even when those they are defending were in direct breach of the law or when they are the ones provoking a situation. In such instances, those defenders don’t just issue statements; they stage demonstrations (locally and internationally), buy space in the media, hire legal redress for them, etc. In Majambere’s instance, they are mum and nowhere to be seen. Is it a coincidence? No! It’s by design. They are serving certain interests and to them, some people have more human rights than others.
It also goes to show that, indeed, these organisations only serve certain interests including financial; where there is no monetary benefit, they can’t work.
And donors are being conned big time.
Democracy and human rights activism is now about tapping big bucks. And, sadly, real democracy and human rights defenders are endangered, meaning that real victims will remain vulnerable and insecure. Thus, the world is in big trouble!
Even in penning this appeal, I might be targeted for being objective and asking civil society to up their game. You may hear course language directed at me, attempts to physically accost me, petitions to dismiss me from my job or even visa blockades. All that doesn’t bother me as it would just prove exactly what I am saying. For as long as I can communicate using my pen or word of mouth, I will not hesitate to stand up for my rights and those of others, using very civil methods.
I wish to applaud Ugandans who act civilly at all times, even the way they communicate with others on public platforms, how they respond to provocation; those who never go physical to make a point but, rather, engage “opponents” respectfully, aware that most of the issues we disagree on are momentary and tomorrow you could be on the same side as the one you are opposed to today. How would you face someone whose leg or teeth you broke, or maimed permanently in a moment of outrage or craziness?
At this rate, I am afraid only a few human rights defenders will go to heaven!
The author is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary
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