Uganda’s government accused the European Union Parliament of meddling in its internal affairs after the legislator passed a resolution deploring alleged torture of opposition politicians.
Robert Kyagulanyi, a Ugandan pop star and lawmaker, and MP Francis Zaake were allegedly tortured after they were arrested last month on suspicion of participating in stoning the motorcade of President Yoweri Museveni.
Government denied security staff tortured the men, saying the injuries visible on their bodies could have been sustained in scuffles as they tried to resist arrest.
“For EU parliament to pass a resolution asking the courts of Uganda to drop charges is inconceivable. We see this as a premeditated attempt to hijack and subvert our institutions,” government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told a news conference.
The EU is a key source of budget support to Uganda and helped fund construction of major highways and other infrastructure.
Museveni’s convoy was stoned as he left Arua where he had travelled to campaign for a ruling party candidate participating in a parliamentary by-election.
Kyagulanyi, Zaake and dozens of supporters were charged with treason for their roles in the incident. The MPs are now in the United States and India seeking treatment for their injuries.
The detention of the MPs and their supporters and reports of their torture sparked days of protest in Uganda.
“Uganda takes objection to the tacit approval of undisciplined behaviour by EU and some of its institutions of some of politicians in the country,” Opondo said, adding the EU was hostile to Uganda because of “our emerging relations with China”.
Critics of Museveni accuse him of using security forces to suppress opposition to his rule but officials say he enjoys genuine mass support.
Parliament, tightly controlled by his ruling party, last year voted to remove an age cap on the presidency that would have barred him from seeking re-election in 2021.