Four Kenyan human rights defenders were on Wednesday morning, just one day before the presidential elections in Uganda, arrested outside Uganda house in Nairobi Kenya as they went to present a protest letter about the on going Human right violations in Uganda’s elections about to happen on January 14th.
Those arrested included Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid, Beatrice Waithera, Ojiro Odhiambo and Yassah Musa who were protesting against political injustices in Uganda. Police used teargas to disperse the growing crowd as they tried to bundle the protesters into a police land cruiser. Those apprehended are being held at the Kenya Central Police Station. Police declined to reveal why they arrested the activists and what offense they had committed, if any.
The demonstrators had converged at the Ugandan embassy located in Uganda House to issue a statement in solidarity with Ugandans “against police Brutality, excessive use of unnecessary force against civilians and securitisation of elections.”
The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya) issued a statement demanding the police release them immediately.
“We demand the release of Hussein Khalid, Waithera Beatrice, Yassah Musa, and Ojiro Odhiambo, who were arrested outside the Ugandan Embassy for speaking against injustices in Uganda and demanding for a free and fair election in Uganda. Freedom of assembly is a right!,” they said.
Amnesty International Kenya, also called for the release of the four.
President Yoweri Museveni is seeking his sixth elected term in office after 35 years in power. The 76-year-old faces 10 challengers, most notably 38-year-old pop star turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, known by his stage name Bobi Wine. Museveni has been accused of using the state machinery to muzzle the opposition with campaigns dominated by violence and police killings. Human rights groups have accused security officers in the East Africa country of using excessive force to break up opposition rallies during the campaign.
Campaigns were banned in Kampala and several other districts with the opposition claiming the action was taken because it is popular in those areas. However, Museveni’s government insists the measure was due to Covid-19 restrictions. About 18.1 million Ugandans are expected to participate in the general election on Thursday.