President General of the opposition political party, DP, Norbert Mao has appealed to all Ugandans to back the petition that Dr Kizza Besigye and his so-called People’s Government intend to file at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Yoweri Museveni.
Mao said this Tuesday on the sidelines of DP’s consultations on the party’s 2021 Manifesto, at Grand International Holiday Hotel in Mbarara.
Last week, Besigye and his ‘People’s Government’ revealed plans to drag President Museveni to the ICC for allegedly committing crimes against humanity. They accuse him of suppression, torture and extra-judicial killing of Ugandans.
Besigye’s lawyer, also opposition politician, Erias Lukwago said Museveni has committed gross human rights violations and atrocities, including but not limited to torture, suppression, repression, incarcerations and elimination or killing of people opposed or perceived to be opposed to the sitting regime.
He cited the clashes between security forces and the cultural leadership of Rwenzururu in Kasese that took place in the aftermath of the 2016 general elections.
On Tuesday, while addressing a news conference in Mbarara, Mao said that ICC was created to deal with crimes that countries cannot deal with internally.
He says the criminality that President Museveni’s troops have committed against the opposition make a case for trial at the International Criminal Court.
“The crimes that Museveni’s troops are guilty of are exactly the kind of crimes that ICC was set up to deal with. We call them crimes against humanity that are targeting a particular section of a society (opposition),” Mao told reporters.
As a lawyer, Mao added that he does not trust Ugandan courts which he said serve the interests of the ruling government.
“The courts in Uganda according to the President’s words are full of cadres, so we don’t expect justice from the courts of Uganda”.
He said Besigye has the legitimate powers to sue any person at the ICC.
“It is a legitimate right for anybody to appeal to the International Criminal Court. That’s why President Museveni reported Joseph Kony (LRA rebel leader) to the ICC. Didn’t he have the UPDF court to deal with it? In fact Museveni was the first to run to the ICC. So why is he now complaining if others are running to international criminal court?” Mao queried.
While he acknowledged that he cannot predict the outcomes of the ‘Peoples’ Government’ planned petition to the Hague-based court, Mao said he believes that there is enough evidence against Museveni.
“As to whether the International Criminal Court will really act or not is another matter, but as a lawyer, I believe that the facts can support a case at the ICC”.
“So we don’t know whether the International community will really go after Museveni because it’s in the nature of human beings to be selfish but I believe all Ugandans should support the move by Col. Besigye to take this matter to the court”.
He says the petition stands to reveal where the International Criminal Court falls, adding “either they are with ordinary people or they are with powerful people”.
At the same event, Mao weighed in on the altercation between FDC’s Kizza Besigye and Police, condemning the excesses with which the law enforcement dealt with FDC supporters last week.
“The Police have now become like a youth league of NRM by using excessive force. like Why use a water canon on Col. Besigye? What if Besigye had broken his neck? Why were they spraying pepper? Some of these actions appear criminal. Somebody is already surrounded in his car and you are spraying pepper. What are you trying to prove?” the DP President commented.
Mao threatened to leave Uganda and go into exile should Police ever handles him with such brutality.
“For me, I have told the Police, if they treat me like that, I will just go into exile and I will not come back or else I will come back through another way because the people of Uganda have been disenfranchised through violence and bribery,” Mao said.
In an appeal to President Museveni’s government, the DP leader asked for a leveled electoral field for all the political parties to compete.
“Our message to Museveni is to level the playing field. If you don’t level the playing field, then we will not play. It’s a condition we are putting because for me in my life, I will never lose the same election twice. The next time you see me on the Presidential ballot paper, you know I am heading for swearing in,” said Mao.