U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo (courtesy photo)

The U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo has replied to Eliot L. Engel, the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on his letter about the current human rights situation in Uganda prior to general elections next month.

Pompeo said the United States is paying close attention to the actions of individuals who seek to impede the ongoing democratic process in Uganda.

“The United States is a longstanding partner of Uganda. We expect our partners to live up to their obligations to hold free and fair elections. We are paying close attention to the actions of individuals who seek to impede the ongoing democratic process,” Pompeo tweeted.

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Eliot L. Engel, in his letter called on the Trump Administration to take immediate action to address a worsening human rights situation in Uganda.

Engel cited a few examples on the abuse of human rights in Uganda. He said; “In November 2016, Ugandan security forces massacred over 100 civilians in Kasese. In September 2017, Ugandan Special Forces forcibly entered parliament during a debate over whether to remove presidential age limits from the constitution, which now allows President Museveni to rule indefinitely. During the tumult, MP Betty Nambooze suffered serious spinal injuries from which she is still recovering.”

He called upon the responsible authorities to place sanctions on the individuals who may be responsible for violence in Uganda in recent years.

“These violent incidents reflect a highly disturbing trajectory for the country, thus ensuring that the environment for general elections in January 2021 has been fundamentally tilted in favor of an incumbent who has been in power since 1986. Therefore, I request that the Treasury Department and the State Department utilize the authority of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Act) to designate individuals who may be responsible for violence in Uganda in recent years.”

He noted that the individuals responsible are; Lt. Gen. Peter Elwelu, Commander of Land Forces; Maj. Gen. James Birungi, Commander of the Special Forces Command; Maj. Gen. Don William Nabasa, former Commander of the Special Forces Command; Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho, Chief of Military Intelligence; Maj. Gen. Steven Sabiiti Muzeyi, Deputy Inspector of General of Police; Frank Mwesigwa, Commissioner of Police; and Col. Chris Serunjogi Ddamulira, Director of Crime Intelligence.

“My desire to see a better human rights record in Uganda is firmly rooted in the country’s own constitution and legal code, which prevent torture and enshrine the right to freely assemble and express viewpoints that may not be in accordance with those of President Museveni. I look forward to your response and thank you for your attention to this urgent matter,” Engel wrote.