By Norman S. Miwambo
Opponents of President Yoweri Museveni’s 25-year rule continued to mount protests in London this weekend when several Ugandans were joined by other campaigners to camp outside the Houses of Parliament located in the Palace of Westminster. Protesters complained the Ugandan leader was mocking the West when he recently spoke about his ‘democratic accomplishments’ which are meant to mean the recent elections in which his National Resistance Movement (NRM) won more seats than all the opposition political parties combined together. Outside the House of Commons, the protesters were joined by other nationalities and had different messages printed in visible placard for the International community ranging from the call for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to indict President Museveni and a demand for the freedom of speech and press.
The protest was spearheaded by Mr Moses Luzinda who stated that the protests were intended to send a message to the international community so that they (international community) have an idea that the protesters are after something. He added that this allows them to get prior notice of two weeks to stage demonstrations and have secured slots for the next two months. Speaking to The London Evening Post, Mr. Luzinda said: “Napoleon Bonaparte preferred facing more soldiers than facing fewer journalists. This is exactly why Mr. Museveni is sending some threats to media organisation. We can only realize freedom if the West stops its monetary support. The use of force like they have done in Libya is the only way the West can stop Mr. Museveni’s security agencies from killing innocent civilians.”
Mr Luzinda vowed to continue with the protests in London saying: “We are going to be consistent and relentless in our demands.” When asked by The London Evening Post of the effect of the protest, Mr. Luzinda simply responded by saying: “You have been here; you have seen the number of people taking photos and reading the messages on our placards. This is the kind of achievement we are looking for.” Placards bore messages such as “ICC indict Museveni for Genocide”; “Stop Dictatorship in Uganda”; “Free Uganda from Dictatorship”; “Uganda Dictator Museveni Must Go”; “Ugandans demand freedom of speech, assembly and the press” among others.
The protests from Ugandans in the UK are being mounted by a non-political pressure group, the Uganda United People Democratic Forces (UUPDF). They called on the international community to put pressure on Uganda’s president and encourage him to step down before it’s too late. Mr. Luzinda also said that police permission to stage their demonstrations at the House of Commons area was a media strategy. He viewed it as a ‘milestone’ because ‘every by passer will take a glance at the message’. He also added: “This is a place that has all it takes to cause Museveni’s to take a step back.”