TO DRAG GOVERNMENT TO COURT: Arthur Larok, ActionAid’s country director for Uganda

ActionAid, an international NGO whose accounts were frozen by the Bank of Uganda (BoU) on allegations of money-laundering, has vowed to drag government to court.

The BoU confirmed the closure through a statement signed by the Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende but Arthur Larok, the ActionAid Country Director for Uganda said today the organization would consider a number of options including seeking legal redress.

“We shall have a number of responses; legal response, political response and diplomatic consultation,” Arthur Larok, the ActionAid Country Director for Uganda said today.

According to Larok the freezing of the organisation’s accounts is politically motivated; a punishment for opposing the plan to have Article 102 (b) removed from the Constitution to allow anyone above 75 years to run for Uganda’s presidency.

According to Larok, security agencies have grilled him multiple times over ActionAid’s activities ever since the organisation gave opposing views on the proposed removal of age limit from the Constitution. “From all the interviews I have done with the police, that is an area they stressed,” he said, referring to the planned scrapping of the age cap. Some time back police raided the organisation’s offices, disorganizing work there. The force, which many people accuse for being partisan in favour of the NRM regime, also raided the offices of the Greal Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS) recently.

GLISS boss Godber Tumushabe, is a government critic and strongly opposed to the removal of presidential age limit from the constitution. The bill now awaits approval of the legal committee of parliament for debate, as MPs go back to villages to consult with the electorate on the same issue.

Authorities have cracked down on the media, charities, rights activists and political opposition who have resisted the bid to amend the constitution to remove an age cap. News Editors of the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper have been summoned by police CID office over stories related to Age Limit. They are expected to appear there on tomorrow.

Recently, NRM MPs met president Yoweri Museveni in Kampala and according to the Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa, the president has rallied behind his Cabinet’s decision to have the age limit cap removed from the constitution. Opposition MPs say the move could benefit Museveni who is serving his last term office.

Museveni, 73 and in power since 1986, is inelligible to stand at the next polls in 2021, if we are to go with the current constitution.

Meanwhile Uganda’ elders recently met in Kampala and called for the respect of the Constitution, particularly Article 102 (b), saying it should be left untouched. The elders included former Prime Minister Prof. Apollo Nsibambi, former Chief Justice Samuel Wako Wambuzi, former Principal Judge James Ogoola and former minister Matthew Rukakaire.

Prof. Nsibambi while briefing the press said he expected Museveni to stand by what he said some time back that he would seek for re-election as president of Uganda when the current term ends.

Founded in 2010, the Elders Forum of Uganda (TEFU) was officially launched by Museveni in 2015.

The Forum which comprises of 13 eminent Uganda elders was founded to provide an impartial space for dialogue particularly during electoral seasons. It is envisioned as a non-state platform providing a neutral space for citizens and political actors to exchange ideas and build consensus on issues of national importance.

 

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