Uganda President Condemns ‘Partisan’ ICC
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has condemned the International Criminal Court (ICC) ahead of general elections in the country.
The veteran leader, who runs for re-election on Thursday, has labelled the Hague-based ICC as a “partisan” court that targets African nations – a popular sentiment in many parts of the continent. Earlier this month, African Union members backed a Kenyan proposal to push for withdrawal from the ICC for the same reason.
The ICC ‘not serious’
Speaking at a presidential debate on February 14, Museveni appeared to support calls for withdrawal from the ICC.
“The ICC is not serious, it is partisan”, he said. “For instance, there are so many leaders who should have been tried but because it (the ICC) is not serious they have not tried them,” he added. “So we have lost interest in ICC.”
Eight nations are currently under investigation by the ICC – all of them African. Kenya, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Mali and Museveni’s Uganda are the countries in question.
Strong performance from Museveni
President Museveni turned in a strong performance at the debate, following serious doubts that he would attend at all. He brushed aside talk regarding allegations of corruption as “fiction” and deflected sensitive topics such as unemployment and healthcare.
However, the televised debate was there to focus on foreign affairs and the incumbent president, who is seeking a fifth term in power, took this opportunity to slam the ICC.
Museveni faces a total of seven challengers in Thursday’s elections and talk of change has been surfacing. The country’s newest voters have never seen a Uganda without Museveni at the helm, after more than 30 years with the same president. Observers will be keen to see how transparent the election process proves to be and how security will be affected.
Museveni also moved to calm fears over violence during the televised debate, saying: “There will be peaceful elections in Uganda. Nobody will disturb our peace. Nobody will threaten us. We cannot allow anyone to disrupt and threaten people.”