The National Unity Platform on Thursday launched a campaign to raise funds for Ugandans detained in the United Arab Emirates-UAE.
Speaking in Kampala, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu-Bobi Wine, NUP party President said as a party they cannot look on when hundreds of Ugandans and other Africans continue to languish in UAE detention centers for lack of money to buy air tickets to travel back to their home countries.
Kyagulanyi who was in UAE last week where his scheduled concert was canceled, said he visited one of 21 detention centers and found 600 Africans awaiting air tickets to be deported. Of the 600, Kyagulanyi said, 200 were Ugandans. He said the reason for the concert was; first to raise money that would have seen him rescue at least 400 girls and also to raise awareness about the issue.
Kyagulanyi said although the government of UAE acting on the advice of the Embassy of Uganda in Dubai foiled his concert, this will not bother him from continuing to push for the release of all Africans in these centers. He called upon all Ugandans of goodwill to contribute whatever they can to ensure that their brethren are rescued.
“We have not given up on you, we are doing everything possible to bring you back home. As Ugandans, we can do something to ensure that we bring back our girls. Let this be the issue on everyone’s social media. We had anticipated that our concert will attract 20,000 people and the money would go to the rescue mission but unfortunately it was stopped. Our efforts are not only targeting Ugandans but all Africans because it pains that people get to be humiliated because of the color of their skin,” Kyagulanyi said.
For Ali Bukeni best known as Nubian Li, it is unconscionable that the government that has refused to assist the girls to return to Uganda would foil the plans of those who want to do something.
Nubian Li who is Bobi Wine’s music partner said the setback they suffered while in Dubai will not deter them from pushing ahead with the issue of seeing that every Ugandan detained in Dubai is actually repatriated.
David Lewis Rubongoya, the Secretary General of NUP called upon all party leaders and supporters to give in whatever they have to ensure that their campaign is a success. “Whoever wants to contribute something please do because these people are like orphans. The regime doesn’t care about them, if they don’t take charge, we should because we are the legitimate government that the people voted for. Our president [Kyagulanyi] has contributed 10 million Shillings to lead by example. So, we expect other leaders to make the contribution towards that effort,” Rubongoya said.
Meanwhile, Kyagulanyi has again called for the speedy trial of Jamil Mukulu who is alleged to have been the leader of the Allied Democratic Forces-ADF, a rebel group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo from where it has been fighting the government of Uganda for almost 30 years. Kyagulanyi’s earlier statements about Mukulu faced pushback from the security forces who accused him of sympathizing with a person they call a terrorist.
Kyagulanyi said although he doesn’t condone terrorism, he can never be cowed into silence about human rights violations. He said indeed if Mukulu were to be a terrorist like the government is alleging, let them subject him to a speedy trial and either be convicted or exonerated.
Mukulu has been in prison for almost eight years ever since he was arrested and extradited from Tanzania in 2015. Since then, his case has never made any serious headway in the International Crimes Division of the High court where he is being tried.
Kyagulanyi also lashed out at political, cultural, and religious leaders for staying silent when human rights violations especially the abduction of people for their political thought have resumed. He said currently in the country there is no issue more serious than the abductions and illegal detention of Ugandans especially those who support him.