Liberian Advocate Praises Ugandans For Peaceful Attempt to Remove Museveni

Lovetta Tugbeh of the Coalition for Justice in Liberia speaks at the National Unity Platform’s convention

CARLIFORNIA, USA – A Liberian advocate has praised the people of Uganda for their democratic attempt to remove President Yoweri Museveni, despite a string of human rights abuses and alleged electoral irregularities, which led the country its past and current civil wars.    

Museveni has ruled the east African nation since 1986, with those 36 years marred by authoritarian rule, media censorship, violation of the rights of the LGBT community, and unlawful prosecution of opposition figures.

His sixth-term victory over Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu—known by his stage name Bobi Wine—in last year’s polls was characterized by fraud the country’s electoral commission said it would investigate. Wine was placed under house arrest for 11 days following the disputed vote, which international observers said was neither free nor transparent.

Lovetta Tugbeh, the lead campaigner of the U.S.-based Coalition for Justice in Liberia, applauded Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP) for using the ballot box, and not bullets.

“I applaud Senator Kyagulanyi, the National Unity platform, the opposition parties, and the citizens of Uganda for taking a peaceful approach in addressing your grievances,” Tugbeh told an NUP convention in California recently.  

“War is not good but speaking out against human rights abuse is even better. Do not stand silent and allow President Museveni’s regime to lead the citizens of Uganda on a disastrous path that could explode into chaos,” she added.

Wine’s NUP party was holding the convention in California—where Tugbeh’s group is based—under the theme: “Unmasking the dictator and blatant human rights abuses in Uganda.” The event included a protest in the western U.S. state, with the protestors calling on the United States and other western powers to halt their support of Museveni’s regime.

Members of the National Unity Platform of Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine protest in California, USA.

Their placards brandished inscriptions: “Stop funding Dictator Museveni,” “Stop enabling Museveni’s evil,” and “USA, stop bedding with Museveni.” The United States gives Uganda over US$950 million each year, according to the U.S. States Department, from where it imports fish, cocoa, coffee and base metals.

“Yoweri… Museveni is the real epidemic,” adorned the banner Tugbeh carried, donning the party’s red outfit.  

“We should all have the same level of legal protection whoever we are, regardless of political affiliation, religion, gender, or tribe,” she said. “Sadly, President Museveni’s regime has failed to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Uganda.”  

Tugbeh, an advocate for a war crimes court for Liberia, said she joined the protest against Museveni as it is a better alternative to war. She had fled Liberia’s 14-year civil conflict in the 1990s for the U.S. Some 250,000 people died in the carnage.

Museveni was a rebel leader in several wars in Uganda between 1971 and 1986 when he was sworn in as president. The Ugandan Bush War, one of the conflicts, is estimated to have killed between 100,000 to 300,000 people. The country has been combating rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is fighting to govern the country by the Ten Commandments.

“If NUP had followed this route—rather than seeking a peaceful readdress of her difference—there would have been thousands killed, hundreds of your women raped, thousands of innocent children killed senselessly,” she told the party delegates.

“But your choice to save lives despite your ambition to lead is commendable.”