Bobi Wine applauds US sanctions on Museveni’s top allies over graft, rights abuses

Bobi Wine applauds US sanctions on Museveni's top allies over graft, rights abuses
Bobi Wine: The West is now paying attention to our pleas.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The leader of the National Unity Platform (NUP), Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, has praised the United States government’s decision to impose sanctions against Speaker Anita Among, her husband and FUFA president, Moses Magogo, and among other top Ugandan officials over their involvement in serious corruption and severe human rights abuses.

Bobi Wine views this action as a significant response to the grievances of the oppressed Ugandan populace.

Mr. Kyagulanyi’s remarks came following the U.S State Department on Thursday issuing sanctions barring five current and former public officials from entering the United States.

The embattled Speaker Anita Among was singled out for her involvement in substantial corruption related to her position of authority.

“Speaker of Parliament Anita Among is designated due to involvement in significant corruption tied to her leadership of Uganda’s Parliament,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

US sanctions Speaker Among, Magogo among other Ugandan public officials
The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among (Right), and her husband Moses Magogo.

Ms. Among’s listing came amid a much-publicised correspondence between the Speaker and President Yoweri Museveni over her alleged ownership of a house in UK.

In a letter dated May 23, Mr. Museveni tasked Ms. Among to explain the ownership status saying he had information “contrary to what you told me.”

“Do you own that house or are you renting it?,” the President posed in a letter copied to Uganda’s anti-corruption authority.

Other public officials sanctioned over corruption include Mary Goretti Kitutu, the former Minister of Karamoja Affairs; Agnes Nandutu, the former Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs; and Amos Lugolobi, the Minister of State for Finance, all cited for their significant corrupt activities.

“All  four officials abused their public positions for their personal benefit at the expense of Ugandans,” the U.S State Department stated.

Former Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mary Gorreti Kitutu while in court.

The State Department also singled out a former senior military official for rights abuses shining a spotlight on President Museveni’s iron fist approach to critics characterised by crackdowns on opposition parties and their officials.

Lt. Gen Peter Elwelu, former Deputy Chief of the Ugandan Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF), stands accused of gross human rights violations.

“Specifically, Peter Elwelu was involved, while commanding UPDF forces, in extrajudicial killings that were committed by members of the UPDF,” he said.

Lt. Gen. Elwelu led one of the deadliest assaults on Ugandans during the attack on the Rwenzururu palace on November 26 and 27, 2016.

Lt. Gen Peter Elwelu
Lt. Gen Peter Elwelu reiterated that the people who died during the raid on the Rwenzururu kingdom palace in 2016 deserved what they got.

In this attack, at least 100 people, including 15 children, were killed, and King Wesley Mumbere was arrested.

Following this latest development, Mr. Kyagulanyi emphasized that they have continuously appealed to the international community to acknowledge and respond to the impunity practiced by the Museveni regime.

“We hope that more individuals and organizations responsible for the suffering of our people will face sanctions,” he said.

Minister Nandutu sent to Luzira prison over Karamoja iron sheets
Former State Minister of Karamoja Affairs Hon. Agnes Nandutu.

Mr. Kyagulanyi emphasized that these sanctions send a clear message to those responsible for gross human rights violations and the plunder of the nation’s resources.

“While they currently control all institutions that should hold them accountable, these sanctions remind them that accountability is not far away,” he added.

Minister Lugoloobi sent to Luzira prison over Karamoja iron sheets
Ugandan State Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development Amos Lugoloobi sits in the dock at the anti-corruption court in Kololo district of Kampala, Uganda April 17, 2023.

Earlier this month, Mr. Kyagulanyi revealed he had lobbied for UK’s April sanction of Speaker Anita Among.

According to the US, the sanctioned officials misused public resources and diverted materials intended for Uganda’s most vulnerable communities for personal gain.

These designations render the officials generally ineligible for entry into the United States.

Also Read: Museveni asks Speaker Among to explain UK house ownership

The sanctions also extend to the spouses of some designated officials, including; Kitutu’s spouse, Michael George Kitutu; and Lugolobi’s spouse, Evelyne Nakimera, who are now also barred from entering the US.

In addition to these public designations, the U.S Department of State is imposing visa restrictions on several other Ugandan officials complicit in undermining the democratic process and oppressing marginalized or vulnerable populations in Uganda.

The United States reaffirms its commitment to supporting Ugandans who advocate for democratic principles and a government accountable to its citizens.

The US emphasizes that impunity for corrupt officials hinders development, facilitates crime, and leads to the unequal distribution of resources, disproportionately affecting underrepresented and underserved populations.

Bobbi Wine’s full statement on designation of Ugandan public officials

“The United States of America has today announced new sanctions against Anita Among for engaging in serious corruption as Speaker of Parliament. Also sanctioned are Amos Lugolobi, Agnes Nanduttu and Mary Goret Kitutu for engaging in corruption related to the #KaramojaIronSheets.

Very significantly, the USA has also announced sanctions against Lt. Gen. Peter Elwelu (the immediate past Deputy Chief of Defence Forces) who commanded the killing of over 150 Ugandans in Kasese in 2016.

We welcome these sanctions and appreciate the Government of the United States for listening to the cry of the oppressed people of Uganda. It has been our call to the civilised world not to keep a blind eye to the impunity perpetuated by the Museveni regime. We hope more individuals and organizations responsible for the suffering of our people will be sanctioned.

This sends a clear message to those responsible for gross violations of human rights; those responsible for the plunder of our nation’s resources, that yes, today they control all institutions that should be holding them accountable, but they are not far from accountability.”