Commission on Human Rights: the story of a hyena who decides the fate of the meat market

It leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you see the hyena sitting in arbitration over the fate of the meat market. Same thing when a monkey is the presiding judge in a case of whether the forest should be felled.

Not so long ago, an unpleasant incident occurred at the Uganda Police Headquarters in Naguru, Kampala.

Human rights activist Nana Namata Mwafrika Mbarikiwa has requested a meeting with the Inspector General of Police (IGP). She didn’t think it was right for the police to brutalize the people they are supposed to protect and she wanted to sit with him in his office and present her complaint as a citizen. The request was granted – and that is why on April 24, 2019, at 10 a.m., Nana went to the police headquarters.

She was alone in her car and you might also want to know that she was seven months pregnant. You may also want to know that Nana is a petite, skinny woman. In fact, if she puts on the school uniform, she will be allowed to walk through the door of any high school, any day of the week.

Nana discovered that a nice welcome party had been prepared for her. Dozens of armed cops, enough to fight a decent war anywhere, had pitched camp at the main gate. When she pulled over, she was tear gassed, forced out of the car, thrown to the ground, and kicked in a really cool way.

A policewoman even pushed a hand deep into her birth canal, presumably to induce labor. The pain was so intense that Nana fainted. The brutality was such that, in short, Nana had to be operated on, prematurely because she was in labor.

Her uterus was also removed, so she will never give birth again. The baby had to be taken to intensive care and luckily survived. It all happened in broad daylight, at the police headquarters. As human rights lawyers, we usually deal with such cases of torture; the only difference is that most are committed in the secrecy of police cells, military installations and “safe houses” manned by intelligence agencies.

Uganda faces bad international press due to an appalling human rights record, with security agencies (i.e. police, military and intelligence) run amok with human rights abuses. Torture has become so commonplace that it makes the news unsurprisingly. Anyone detained for political reasons is now expected to be tortured; the only question is to what extent. It is now common for people to be in wheelchairs, bandages and braces because they have been tortured. If you as a man emerge with your manhood still functioning, you are very, very lucky.

But in the midst of all this, the person whom the Constitution has placed at the forefront of the promotion and protection of human rights, the Chairman of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) is actively and aggressively advocating security agencies and condemns the media for “exaggerating”, while asking that “greater protection” be given to security agencies because they are in danger. With such defenders, we don’t need oppressors! Very strange? Yes. Very abnormal? Yes.

This is why Parliament is expected to raise ‘fitness audit’ questions on UHRC President Ms Mariam Wangadya. She really needs to show why she shouldn’t step down and try her talents elsewhere.

And that is why, until this is done, the public should deliberately ignore and strategically boycott the Uganda Human Rights Commission, deny them any work and render them utterly useless. It makes no sense for someone to petition the UHRC about human rights abuses suffered at the hands of the state, while the president is issuing statements that sanitize the appalling conduct of the security agencies. the state. In civilized countries, the president would have been forced to resign long ago; because his comments are inconsistent with the continued occupation of what happens to be a most sacred office established under the Constitution.

It doesn’t make sense; and it is neither right nor proper for us to remain silent when, before our very eyes, a hyena is deciding the fate of the meat market.

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