On Wednesday 8 February 2023 the Ugandan opposition will demonstrate at NIMD. Their activities have not contributed to democracy but only strengthened the position of the dictator.
The central problem is the country manager of NIMD, Frank Rusa. In it’s actions and expressions NIMD in Uganda does not appear to be neutral, but rather indirectly supporting the dictatorship
- Just after the violent and rigged elections of January 14th 2021 NIMD put out the following tweet and statement suggesting the violence came from two sides. Over a 100 Ugandans lost their lives.
- According to their certification, the dialogue model of NIMD is only applicable in young democracies. But independent parties such as freedom house do not qualify Uganda as a democracy or young democracy, but as a authoritarian regime.
- Frank Rusa, the country representative of NIMD was a (former?) active member of NRM. He later became Head of Legal of the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission is one of the most loyal institutions to the Museveni dictatorship. Members and personnel of the EC are appointed by Museveni himself.
- Thijs Berman at first denied angrily that Rusa was connected to the Electoral Commission, referring to it as ‘accusations’. When screenshots were shared of Rusa’s LinkedIn profile, showing he was Head of Legal of the EC, Thijs Berman changed the story. Rusa had indeed been working for the commission, but was no member of the EC and those appointments are not political. An expert that we spoke to reacted to the distinction that Berman made with laughter.
- After a demonstration had taken place at NIMD head quarters, this is what Thijs Berman had to say about NIMD silence of 2 MPs, Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana, being locked up for years by the dictator on bogus charges.
NIMD task is to promote democracy through dialogue, and parliament is the most important place for this. Removing 2 MPs from this dialogue is a mayor democratic intrusion and can be disregarded as a ‘social justice’ issue.
6. NIMD organised a youth symposium where it invited youth leaders of all political parties. However, Francis Zaake, the well-known leader of the Youh of NUP was not invited. Francis Zaake is known as one of the most outspoken critics of the dictatorship. He critized the dictatorship in parliament, which led to him being removed from parliament functions.
7. During this youth symposium there were presentations by Anne Adeka, Doreen Nyanjura & David Lewis Rubongoya. The twitter account of NIMD gave a false impression of what these speakers had said.
We asked Nyanjura if this was a good summary and she told us “Lol, of course it’s not. Missed so many words [..] that’s why I never retweeted it”
We spoke to David Lewis Rubongoya. His reaction: “I never said that”. The argument of age discrimation has been used to change the constitution illegally to keep Museveni in power. Only a Museveni fan could write something like that without feeling the painful memories of the violence used to remove Age Limit from the constituion.
An MP called Betty Nambooze got disabled after being attacked in Parliament by Security Forces that had promised her they would break her back if she opposed the Age Limit reform. NIMD never said anything about this.
8. After clearly indicating we wanted to submit a complaint with NIMD about their country manager Frank Rusa we were referred the very same man to submit that complaint.