“They’re just looking for attention!” Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Faruk Kirunda speaks out on the opposition’s move of dragging President Museveni to ICC

The Deputy Presidential Press Secretary, Mr. Faruk Kirunda has condemned the opposition for dragging President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over accusations he says are aimed at tainting the image of the President and that of Uganda as a country.

On Tuesday, a group of over 200 opposition members submitted to ICC testimonies of torture and other crimes against humanity allegedly perpetrated by senior government officials including the President and the First Son, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

The accusers say the crimes were committed before and after the general elections in 2021.

However, Mr. Kirunda says the act of dragging President Museveni and his government to ICC by the opposition is not new and it’s always done in bad faith.

“The Opposition in Uganda is faded and they think by dragging the President to ICC they will get attention and regain relevance in the eyes of the International community. After their failed attempt to remain relevant through fighting the recently signed Anti-Homosexuality law, they have now resorted to the ICC game which is also deemed to fail,” the Deputy Spokesperson explained.

Mr. Kirunda also revealed that the opposition decided to include the First Son into their political gimmicks because he has gained traction in public and now they are looking for ways of fighting him.

“And on several occasions, the President as a democratic leader who fought for peace in Uganda has always condemned any form of human rights abuse. Those opposition members are running to ICC to also tarnish the image of President Museveni and that of the NRM government. It’s their clear strategy,” he said.

Mr. Kirunda further accused the opposition of always making fake submissions to push their political agendas.

“A case in point is the Secretary General of opposition’s National Unity Platform (NUP) party- Lewis Rubongoya who recently submitted to UHRC a list of people whom they claimed were abducted with no trace by the State. Upon thorough findings and verifications, UHRC found out that the list was fake. Some of the people on the list were from DRC and others were surprised to learn that they were included in that particular list. In turn, UHRC summoned the NUP officials to respond to their findings but since then, they have never appeared anywhere near the UHRC offices,” he said.

“Last year, the same NUP party paraded accident victims as victims of torture during a human rights conference in Nairobi Kenya. Moses Simbwa, a resident of Jinja City and also a known NUP supporter who got involved in a motor accident and sustained severe injuries, was among the people paraded to Human Rights’ donors as torture victims by NUP leaders during the meeting.”

On the other hand, the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary also accused the opposition of being perpetrators of human rights abuses in the country. He pointed out a female police officer ASP Consilata Kasule who was allegedly hammered by some NUP members during a protest in November 2020 and another officer who was stoned to near death near the New Taxi park in Kampala in May 2022.

“If they mean well in their fight for human rights, they should have included those officers who were also abused by their supporters. It’s my humble prayer that ICC sends a team to Uganda to first investigate whether such allegations are true or not but what I can assure you is that they are wrong,” Mr. Kirunda added.

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