Statement on NUP protest at NIMD event 29-Feb

On 29 Feb 2024 members of the Dutch chapter of the National Unity Platform (NUP) attended a meeting organised by the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy and started a surprise protest.

On various occasions the NUP has protested against the cooperation of NIMD with the Ugandan dictatorship; the most notable being the protest on July 1st 2022. A couple of months later NIMD decided to stop supporting the much-hated Interparliamentary Dialogue (IPOD).

However, NIMD has continued to operate in Uganda. The NUP has the following objections.

  1. The certification of NIMD says it applies to ‘young democracies’. Uganda has been under dictatorial rule for 38 years.
  2. In media expressions of events organised by NIMD, the contributions of opposition leaders were stripped of direct criticism on the dictatorship, and specifically the word ‘dictator’.
  3. The youth leader of the National Unity Platform, honorable Francis Zaake has told us never to have been invited to any NIMD event. Zaake is known to be a very vocal critic.
  4. The NIMD applies two measures when it comes to democracy. In 2020/2021 elections were rigged in Belarus and in Uganda. Only in the case of Belarus did the NIMD express it’s concerns. Scientific research has shown that African elections are treated differently by Western observers as other elections.
  5. NIMD & Dutch embassy organise youth events with the idea of empowering the young generation. However, during the elections of 2021 the youth massively voted for Bobi Wine, which has been well documented. Youth were massively abducted & tortured. Because of election rigging dictator Museveni remained in charge. We regard these youth events that do not refer to the 2021 elections, and do not refer to youth political prisoners, as a part of the whitewashing of the dictatorship.
  6. On 23 February Sharon Kemigisha was abducted. She participated in the ‘National Youth Symposium’ on 21 February. She remains incomunicado to this very day and is likely raped & tortured. Why does NIMD not take an interest in this?
  7. Because of the issues we see with NIMD, the NUP decided not to participate in the Leadership training. Many of the students were from NRM, the party of the dictator, who proudly tweeted (see below)
  8. We have reason to believe that NRM is effectively controlling the NIMD office in Uganda. For example, the Dutch board of NIMD was not aware that Frank Ruso, the previous country director, was a former Electoral Commission member and NRM member.

One year ago the board of NIMD decided that they wish to end communication with the Dutch/European representative(s) of NUP.

We think this is not in the interest of dialogue; we would prefer to have a private meeting to see which of the above issues can be resolved. Our protest of 29 February was a cry for attention.