A prominent Makerere University lecturer has advised government not to accept aid from the European Union if it does not welcome criticism from the body.
The comment was made by Mwambustya Ndebesa, a history and political science lecturer at the university.
Ndebesa made the comment during his appearance on NBS TV Morning Breeze on Wednesday.
The European Union recently announced that it had issued sanctions against individual officers of the Ugandan government who violated human rights during the January 14th general election.
The Ugandan government has condemned the actions by the European Union.
Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa pointed out to the EU parliament president that Uganda has laws that govern it and it is sitting government’s duty to ensure they are not broken by anyone.
He went on to ask the EU to respect Uganda’s sovereignty.
But Ndebesa said that the EU is within its mandate to raise the issues that it pointed out.
Ndebesa urged government to seek diplomatic resolution to the disagreement rather than respond, he said, “arrogantly.”
“It’s not a matter of saying we won’t go to Europe yet over 60% of our health sector is funded by Europe. If you don’t want them to talk about those issues, don’t get their aid,” Ndebesa said.
Ndebesa urged government to look critically in the matters that the EU parliament raised last Thursday and work on ironing them out than trying to cover up.
” Is what they (EU) are talking about relevant? Many people have been kidnapped, the police are giving uncoordinated information,” Ndebesa said.
Ndebesa said that the EU is a very big block and that it is not something that the Uganda government can ignore more so if they raised such issues of human rights violations which are well within their mandate.
Ndebesa said that Uganda is signatory to the Cotonou Agreement which has a human rights element and we should not complain when called to order.
The senior lecturer also cited an example where President Yoweri Museveni, while addressing the Organization of the African Union (OAU) when he had just captured power in 1986, castigated African countries who did not intervene in Uganda’s matters when Ugandans were being killed.
“So you want to tell me that the same government and President is now saying no one should talk about the issues of Uganda? Uganda has also intervened in Sudan, Congo, Rwanda. Is that observing the sovereignty of those countries?,” Ndebesa asked.
Ndebesa says that although no one should celebrate the sanctions since they hurt ordinary citizens more, the government should also stop turning political opponents into criminals.