Former independent presidential candidate John Katumba has said that he still feels insecure, months after the January 14th election. He said competing in presidential polls felt like a crime.
Katumba made the comments while appearing before the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee, which is investigating allegations of rights violations during the 2021 general election.
“I will start with a question, did we make a crime to contest in this election? Why did you amend the constitution if you wanted people of my age to participate? The way I saw the elections, it was like we made a crime to participate,” Katumba said.
Katumba said that from day one of the campaigns, up to now, he still feels so insecure.
“This is why I even fear to eat your food, I am sorry to say so,” Katumba said before declining to eat the food he was served.
Katumba told the committee that it seems to him that ‘Order from above’ controlled everything in the elections, instead of the Electoral Commission.
“Save for our friends who were arrested openly, so many issues happened along the way, I would have said most of them but the evidence was taken. I don’t know if I can get a video of it, but there was a man who was following me yet he wasn’t in uniform. We always talk about these things but order from above controls everything,” Katumba said.
Yesterday the Human Rights Committee met with National Unity Platform’s leadership and they also claimed that the campaigns were dominated by bloodshed from the day their candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu was nominated at Kyambogo.
NUP secretary general David Rubongoya told the committee that their campaign trail suffered the brunt of attacks from security forces who left many of their colleagues dead, tortured or incarcerated till date.
“ The unprovoked violence that the security officers perpecuated against members and supporters of NUP left over 60 people dead, those that the government admitted, hundreds were injured and thousands arrested and detained in various detention centers across the country,” Rubongoya said.
NUP deputy president in charge of the central region Mathias Mpuuga said that many of their supporters were beaten into submission and other are still traumatized to appear anywhere or say anything.
Independent legislator for Busunjju county, David Kalwanga said that he was also torturted and almost killed by the army as they asked him if he was the Lukyamuzi they were looking for.
The Human Rights Committee of parliament vice chairperson Agnes Taaka tasked the presidential candidates and NUP to describe the tactics that were used by the security officers to torture their supporters.