In an appearance last week on Radio One’s call-in prime talk show; The Spectrum, AlbRecht Conze, the German ambassador to Uganda, said Europeans can no longer be nudged to help Africa oust out-of-favour leaders.
He said that is “really your turf.” He said Africans have options; they can use the ballot or civil disobedience to choose or depose a leader like the Sudanese middle-class did to former President Omar al-Bashir.
“I think the authorities know very well what we think, and we have, as Western and Asian development partners – Japan and South Korea- made it clear that we very much believe that a high degree of the freedom of the media is an engine of growth and emancipation of any country.”
“So, when there is a certain nervousness because of, let’s say, the electoral calendar, that leads to events of repression, then I think this is unfortunate and also unnecessary. Your country is mature enough to go through an electoral period, even an extended electoral period, which we seem to be at the start of right now, without the harassment of the media.”
He called on Uganda citizens to raise up and reclaim their country from the ruling National Resistance Movement led by General Yoweri Museveni.
“It will be just as good, but it will be probably worse if some of the security forces believe that harassment of the media is in the interest of someone. It is not, it is in the interest of nobody. So, this is what we reiterate to our Ugandan friends but we don’t say this because we are Mzungus, we say this because we are echoing what the Ugandans themselves are telling their leaders and the chiefs of their security forces. It is your struggle, we are not there to do this for you but we can be a positive echo for the better, and we can encourage everybody to observe the rules, which every country has subscribed to,” he said.
He added: “The time of lecturing to Africans from their northern partner continent is definitely over. If some people in Europe have not understood that yet, it is their problem. I fully agree with every African citizen and leaders that this is not the way we should deal with each other.”
“If, on the other hand, we support people who are simple citizens, and who claim the freedom of expression, claim their rights to enjoy civil liberties, we are not doing that against such a country, we are doing it in a global way of showing our belief that a human being has a basic dignity nobody globally is allowed to touch. This is how it is in the German constitution that a man’s dignity; that also implies a woman’s dignity, is of the highest value and may not be touched by a state’s interference.”