Uganda’s close allies, the European Union, United States, the United Kingdom and others have called for an investigation into electoral irregularities and series of violence that characterize the just ended Ugandan election.
However, the reactions from these long time allies of Museveni came with different tones. The United States have maintained a much stronger language in addressing the issue whilst the UK remained less critical in their approach.
After congratulating Ugandan citizens who got the chance to exercise their voting rights on January 14, the US State Department added that, it “remain concerned by reports of election irregularities and politically motivated arrests,” stating further that, “We urge authorities to address such irregularities and restore communications.”
In a much cautious statement, UK’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge said that, “We ask that all parties, including the security services, but also all of Uganda’s political movements, act with restraint to ensure the peaceful resolution of disputes… As a longstanding partner, we urge Uganda to continue to strive to meet its own international human rights commitments.”
Uganda’s long-serving president, Yoweri Museveni was declared winner by the country’s Electoral Commission amidst claims of electoral fraud, violence and internet shutdown. The European Union stated that, the government’s decision to shut down internet disrupted the work of journalists, observers and polling agents expected to monitor the election.
Aside footages of assault of citizens and journalists, the main victim of the violence is the leader of the main opposition party, Bobi Wine who has been under house arrest together with his family and an 18-month old baby since the results were declared.
Attempts by journalists and international authorities to reach him proved futile; US Ambassador Natalie Brown was returned by the security forces surrounding the house of the Pop-Star cum politician. The US Embassy clarified that, “the purpose of Ambassador Brown’s visit was to check on Mr. Kyagulanyi’s health and safety, given that he’s effectively been unable to leave his home, with security forces surrounding his residence.”
However, Ugandan Government spokesman, Ofwono Opondo referred to her visit as a mischievous one that violated diplomaticy; “We expect her to write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to adhere to diplomatic norms. We don’t think that a friendly country or someone who wants to help out in a difficult situation would act in this way,” Opondo said.
Many human rights groups have so far criticized sternly, the unlawful detention of Bobi Wine; Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa said in a statement that, “It is neither a crime to stand for president nor to want to challenge the election results in court. This continued confinement is politically motivated and a blatant violation of their human rights. It must be lifted immediately and without any conditions.”
Legal team member of Bobi Wine, Anthony Wameli revealed that, they are working on “seeking a writ of habeas corpus for Kyagulanyi and his wife because they cannot leave their home and they cannot access lawyers, meaning they are under illegal detention.”