Ramaphosa must speak out against Uganda’s attack on democracy

Issued by John Steenhuisen MP – Leader of the Democratic Alliance
06 Oct 2023 in News

It is with great dismay and sadness that I learned of Ugandan opposition leader, Bobi Wines’ arrest by guerrilla soldiers upon his return to Uganda on Thursday morning.

As a friend and colleague, I had spent much of Wednesday evening with Bobi at an event in Johannesburg where he shared his frustrations as a liberal politician living under an oppressive state.

His arrest has troubled me deeply.

In a country where President Yoweri Museveni continues his relentless assault on democracy and freedom, often stifling and arresting dissenting voices, President Cyril Ramaphosa remains but a spineless bystander showing silent and tacit support for countries and regimes that continue to trample upon the principles of freedom, democracy, and human rights enshrined in our very own constitution.

The message he sends to the world, and to our own people is that South Africa condones these attacks on democracy, even as a country whose own democracy was won through immense turmoil and hardship.

As former African Union Chairperson, and the leader of a government guided by a free and principled constitution, President Ramaphosa must speak out against the violent and oppressive dictators and governments in Africa and the havoc they wreak not only upon our fellow African citizens, but on the very principles of freedom and democracy across the entire African continent.

Bobi Wine’s arrest comes just one month after President Ramaphosa attended the inauguration of Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, after he once again stole the country in one of the most violent, irregular, and rigged elections in Zimbabwe’s history. At the same time, the South African government made new bed fellows in Iran and Saudi Arabia through the 2023 BRICS Summit, aligning our country with states where democracy, and the rights of women and minorities continue to be crushed.

President Ramaphosa can no longer turn a blind eye to these atrocities, especially as the leader of an African state with immense influence in its region and on the continent. We, as South Africans, cannot purport to be the vanguards of freedom and democracy when we do not passionately and fervently fight for their promotion and protection elsewhere on the continent.

By failing to condemn President Yoweri Museveni and the Ugandan government for this gross violation of freedom, President Ramaphosa shows that he accepts and agrees with the jailing of politicians whose crime is nothing more than speaking freely and contesting elections as is their right. President Ramaphosa must speak out against this atrocity for democracy if he is truly the President of a free South Africa.

Our country cannot align itself with those who would seek to destroy the very principles upon which our nation is founded. President Ramaphosa must speak out against President Museveni’s stifling of the opposition in Uganda if we are to truly realise the dream of a free and prosperous Africa.

Be part of the mission to rescue South Africa, get help registering to vote at check.da.org.za