The killing of George Floyd an unarmed black man in the US city of Minneapolis by a White police officer has triggered an outpouring of emotion not just in the United States but also in Uganda.
At the same time however, some have used the huge publicity that the murder has generated to remind Ugandans that similar murders and human rights violations are happening in Uganda, but very few people dare to speak out against the violations.
Thanks to the globalised media and news media, the death of Floyd has become almost ubiquitous on all news channels and social media platforms. Following the release of videos that showed Police Officer Derek Chauvin, killing Floyd, protests have erupted across most cities in the United States.
At some point over the past couple of days following Floyd’s death, comments or likes by Ugandans about George Floyd have made it a trending topic on Twitter and Facebook.
Some of those who have joined the mourning and condemnation of Floyd’s killing include high ranking government officials such as Gender and Social Development Minister Frank Tumwebaze, General Duties Minister Karooro Okurut, Commissioner of Prisons Dr. Johnson Byabashaija, MP Margaret Muhanga among others.
But as the government officials and ordinary Ugandans joined the global community of mourners for George Floyd, there have been calls for everyone to reflect on similar violations of human rights that are happening here in Uganda, which often happen without many speaking out against them.
Minister Tumwebaze has received perhaps the biggest condemnation from Ugandans for posting that the police officer who was captured kneeling on Floyd’s neck, deserves to be served to the hungry lions & crocodiles. #Stressful
Over 500 reactions have been posted against Minister Frank Tumwebaze‘s original Twitter comment, and most of them are a reminder of what many describe as similar violations by Uganda’s security forces. Many have described Tumwebaze’s condemnation of U.S Police response as hypocritical noting that similar violations are happening in Uganda but he has remained silent.
Without aiming at those in power, other commentators such as KFM’s Patrick Kanyomozi have castigated the elite Ugandans who chosen to spend time to mourn an American but done nothing to stand up when fellow Ugandans have been beaten to death by Uganda’s security officers.
Although he didn’t die, the arrest and subsequent torture of Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zaake by security officers has not been accompanied by any physical protests.