The last week has been a bit tumultuous in judiciary circles in Uganda. Museveni had the High Court stormed to arrest six men who had been released on bail. In the process, a lawyer was beaten almost to death and Museveni’s government took another hit to its credibility.
Museveni has not respected the court’s independence nor has he given them freedom of judiciary. If Uganda wants to truly be a country that is really has a democratic, this cannot continue. Museveni cannot possibly treat Besigye any more poorly than he has in the past few years. Besigye has faced charges of murder, rape, and treason. The men who have now been rearrested are all in jail facing fresh murder charges and they are all Besigye supporters.
Obviously, last week’s judicial strike has wreaked havoc on Uganda’s courts and next week’s lawyer strike is going to do the same. It is unfortunate, but it is necessary. The courts now have a backlog of close to 2,500 cases across the country. If the courts must dance to Museveni’s desires, they really have no purpose whatsoever. Museveni is now apologizing for the incident, but his late apology is not acceptable. There cannot troops storming courts to arrest people who are being released on bail.
Museveni blocked parliament’s condemnation and a call for the government’s apology over the incident. Not only is Uganda’s free press restricted, now there is no independent judiciary or legislature?
If Museveni doesn’t stop now, what will be next? Museveni must allow the independent judiciary and then allow Ugandans to have other democratic freedoms such as speech and assembly. If Museveni isn’t careful, he’ll soon be compared to some of his Ugandan head-of-state predecessors.