President Museveni and his government have been urged to release all political detainees, especially the youths, most of whom were abducted by security operatives and imprisoned before, during and after the 2021 general election.
The appeal was made Friday by Bishop Anthony Zziwa, the chairperson of the Uganda Episcopal Conference during the 26th graduation ceremony of Uganda Martyrs University at Nkozi main campus in Mpigi District.
“We concluded the national and local elections and the elected leaders have been all sworn in at different levels. Our message is, let peace prevail in our country – elections are over. As I make this appeal, I want to request those responsible for our security to release people who have been abducted and imprisoned for political reasons,” the Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese bishop said, echoing appeals that have already been made by several other religious leaders who have made comments regarding the arrests during and after the recently concluded elections.
“Unfortunately, most of them are young boys and girls. Please give them also their freedom to enjoy the fruits of the concluded elections,” the bishop added as he addressed students who were awarded with diplomas and degrees in different disciplines under a theme: “Like Uganda Martyrs, the Lord will stand by me and give me strength.”
During the virtual ceremony which saw at least 538 female and 606 male students graduate, the bishop tasked elected leaders to embrace equity, equality and justice during their tenure.
“… By being agents of truth, by being friendly to mother earth, by striving for fairness and justice, serve well and distribute wealth equally – what are you going to do for us?” he said.
Bishop Zziwa’s remarks come days after Muslim leaders across the country made similar calls during Idd-Ul-Fitr prayers.
Security agencies during the campaigns arrested, and still hold, hundreds of Opposition supporters, especially those of National Unity Platform (NUP) led by Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, the runner-up in the January 14 vote.
Many were abducted by plain-clothed operatives, with NUP claiming 680 of their supporters are among those missing.
Some have been kept in unlawful detention centres, others held incommunicado while others are being tried in military courts.
At Idd-Ul-Fitr prayers at Old Kampala Mosque, formally called Gaddafi Mosque, Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje said since President Museveni was successfully sworn in, he should show mercy to political prisoners.
“Let them be released. Let them enjoy their freedom with families. Some of them are Muslims and would love to celebrate Idd with their families,” Sheikh Mubajje said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Lucky Joseph Kidega was the only one graduated with a PhD in governance, peace and security (pictured).
Uganda Martyrs University vice chancellor, professor John Chrysostom Maviiri also asked government to strengthen infrastructure across the country to be connected to free internet to support education institutions embracing e-learning.