The Chief of Uganda’s Military Intelligence Maj Gen Abel Kandiho has been slapped with sanctions by the US government.
In previous target sanctions, targeted leaders in Uganda were banned from traveling to US, their properties and bank accounts frozen and also their family members denied any visas among other restrictions.
Meanwhile, the Washington uses the Magnitsky legislation which came into force in 2012 to sanction foreign individuals who have committed human rights abuses or been involved in significant corruption.
However, the US is a longstanding partner of Uganda. Their relationship was built on military cooperation.
“They have been a good partner for us in addressing the challenge in Somalia,” said Deborah Malac, the American ambassador in Uganda from 2016 to 2020.
Brig Flavia Byekwaso , Uganda People’s Defence Forces ‘UPDF’ spokesperson, says, “our relationship with the United States is good, it is important, we value it, but we reject them meddling in our affairs,” she said.
The former US envoy in Uganda says “the time is right for “a tangible recalibration in the relationship”.
US Congressmen have suggested sanctions targeting Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho, the chief of military intelligence, and Lieutenant General Peter Elwelu, who commanded the 2016 attack in Kasese.
During the recently concluded presidential elections in Uganda, Museveni deployed the military to manage security in Kampala city and neighbouring districts. The Army used this chance to crash the opposition by conducting mass arrests, arbitrary detentions without trial, torture and killing.
“Uganda’s January 14th elections were marred by election irregularities and abuses by the government’s security services against opposition candidates and members of civil society,” said Ned Price, then US State Department spokesman.
“We’ll consider a range of targeted options to hold accountable those members of the security forces responsible for these actions,” the US official said early this year.
In 1987, a year after fighting his way to power in Uganda, Yoweri Museveni made his first visit to the White House.
“Pleasure to meet with you,” said Ronald Reagan to his beaming guest. “I know your concern and progress you’re making with regard to human rights.”
It was the beginning of a long relationship between Museveni and the United States, in which the former rebel positioned himself as an important security partner.(taarifa)