The government of the Netherlands has written back to a group of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activists, cheapest http://connectgroups.org.au/wp-admin/includes/misc.php promising to try and address a number concerns they raised to the European nation recently about human rights in Uganda and what they termed as diminishing space for the opposition.
The FDC activists through their Power 10 pressure group, http://chicken33.com/commande/wp-includes/class-feed.php together with other Ugandans living in the Netherlands petitioned the Dutch government, following the arrest of the FDC presidential candidate Col Dr Kizza Besigye, who is now remanded on treason charges.
These also expressed in their petition, concerns about the malpractices that marred the February presidential and parliamentary elections as well the subsequent clampdown on opposition leaders in the weeks that followed.
The Dutch government through its Foreign Affairs Ministry promised to utilize its good relations with Kampala to seek remedies to these issues.
Mr Bengt Van Poosdrecht, the Director Sub Saharan Africa Development under the Exterior Ministry, said that the his government closely monitored the February elections through its Kampala Embassy and the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM).
Van Poosdrecht noted that while the Supreme Court eventually ruled that President Yoweri Museveni was validly elected, the judges raised issues that have been recurring points of concern at every recent election.
“The EU EOM has therefore drawn 30 recommendations to the Ugandan government for improving the electoral system. The Netherlands shares the concerns of the EU EOM and is of the view that the recommendations are well founded,” he said. “We will do our utmost to encourage the Ugandan government to implement them.”
Van Poosdrecht however, hastened to remind the FDC activists that the Netherlands and Uganda are currently enjoying a good relationship, and that Uganda’s external contributions especially to pacify the region are highly regarded.
“We greatly value the positive and constructive role that Uganda plays in the region, for example hosting over 500,000 refugees and taking part in peacekeeping missions,” noted the director.
“For more than ten years Uganda has been a partner country in the Dutch Development Cooperation…the Netherlands is a critical and constructive partner with Uganda.”
He promised that using the two countries’ cordial relations, the Dutch government will try to discuss this difficult topic with Uganda.
“We will not hesitate to bring out issues such as electoral reforms, the decreasing space for the opposition, human rights and the freedom of demonstrations in our contacts with Uganda.”
One Moses Atocon, who presented the petition on behalf of Power 10, said they were so far satisfied with the response from the Netherlands.