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East Africa Politics News

Uganda Beefs Up Security Ahead Presidential Election

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Uganda has beefed up security in and around Kampala, the capital, ahead of Thursday presidential election which pits incumbent President Yoweri Museveni against the main challenger, Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine.

The country has witnessed violenced ahead of the election with riots after Bobi was arrested in October 2020 claiming no fewer than 50 lives.

Three days before the East African country votes in presidential and parliamentary elections, the Ugandan military and police have stepped up security in and around the capital Kampala.

The military men were seen moving on foot and patrolling the streets while others had been stationed in some streets known to be violence hotspots.

“The campaign period is coming to an end and we are now proceeding to the next level of voting, we have now upgraded our security and deployed police officers who are being supported by the army,” Patrick Onyango, Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, said.

“Security is key to the protection of every person’s right to vote and maintain confidence in a safe, secure and accurate election.”

He added that there were also more motorised police and military patrols unlike before the election period in the East African country.

“We now have a multi-layered security response of patrol groups on foot, motorcycles and patrol vehicles,’’ said Onyango.

“We have practised active drills on several scenarios including: violent riots, radical youth groups, cyber harassment, clashes between rival groups etc. The teams will respond to any emergency,’’ he added.

Heads of security agencies last Friday warned all those intending to cause chaos during and after the election that they would suffer its consequences.

The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Adolf Mwesige, said political candidates must accept the choice of the people as would be declared by the Electoral Commission.

“The only channel you can use to oppose the results is the courts of law and not violence. This is not the first time we are having elections,’’ Mwesige said.

Foreign missions here have already alerted their citizens to take extra care during and after the elections, warning of possible election violence.

“Police routinely use force, including tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition, to disperse protests.

“Demonstrations throughout Uganda are likely to remain common and may escalate to violence,’’ U.S. Embassy here cautioned Americans, urging them to avoid demonstrations and crowds.

The presidential campaign period, which started in early November and ends on Jan. 12, has been characterised with violent protests with some being fatal.

The arrest of opposition presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi on Nov. 18 sparked off violent protests in some parts of the country leading to the killing of 54 people by the security agencies.

Museveni while speaking about the fatal riot regretted some of the deaths and promised to institute an investigation.

He said some of the deaths were as a result of protesters attacking security personnel and also destroying private property.

The presidential race is largely between Museveni, who has been in power for over 30 years and Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, a music star turned politician.

There are also nine other candidates in the presidential race.

Museveni and the security agencies accused Bobi Wine of being under the influence of foreign agents to destabilise the country’s peace and security while Bobi said that the heavy security deployment was meant to intimidate his supporters.

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East Africa Politics News

Uganda Election: Bobi Wine Files Arbitrary Detention Complaint

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Police arrest Ugandan pop-star MP Bobi Wine, supporters teargassed

The Presidential candidate of the National Unity Platform (NUP) in the Uganda election, Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a Bobi Wine, has filed an arbitrary detention complaint to the United Nations (UN).

The Ugandan military has since Friday surrounded Bobi Wine’s house, a day after Uganda conducted presidential elections, barring him from going out or receiving visitors.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Bobi Wine, said: “Nigerian human rights lawyer Femi Falana has filed this complaint on my behalf to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest.

“We are challenging my continued illegal confinement by the Ugandan police and the military.”

Long-time president Museveni, 76, was re-elected with almost 59 per cent of the vote, followed by 38-year-old Wine, with roughly 35 per cent.

Wine says he will legally contest the result of the presidential election, alleging “widespread fraud” during the Jan. 14 poll, which was seen as Uganda’s first election in which there was a real threat to Museveni’s rule.

Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, has retained power for 35 years.

He had changed Uganda’s constitution to enable himself to run for yet another five-year term.

The election had been overshadowed by violence since campaigning began, with almost daily violence being reported.

The internet was shut down across the country shortly before the start of voting.

It has since returned, although social media remains unavailable.

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Ugandans Go to the Polls; This Time to Vote for Mayors

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The Ugandan electorate on Wednesday returned to polling stations to elect city mayors and district chairpersons.

According to Electoral Commission (EC) road map, Wednesday’s elections of District Local Government Councils shall include elections for District/City Chairpersons, Lord Mayor, Mayors, and Councillors at local government level.

The poll is holding about a week after presidential and parliamentary polls were held. However, local media say voter turnout are low in the local government council elections compared to last week’s elections.

Analysts say the low turnout was expected as some voters were unhappy with how the general elections were conducted.

Popular musician Jose Chameleon, real name Joseph Mayanja, is contesting to be mayor of the capital, Kampala. His rivals include Nabilah Naggayi, Dan Kazibwe, Godfrey Nyakana and incumbent Erias Lukwago.

Under the Local Government Act, District chairpersons are among others, mandated to preside over meetings of the executive committees of the districts, monitor the general administration of the districts and implementation of council decisions.

Meanwhile, the results of the presidential election continued to generate tensions locally and internationally. A Nigerian senior advocate and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), on Tuesday dragged President Yoweri Museveni to the United Nations over the illegal house arrest of his main challenger, Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a Bobi Wine.

Bobi Wine, 38, has not been seen outside of his home since the Presidential election held last Thursday.

On Tuesday, US Ambassador to Uganda, Natalie E. Brown, who went to Wine’s resident to check on his health and safety, because he has “effectively been unable to leave his home, with security forces surrounding his residence,” was turned back by the army, a Facebook post said.

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Uganda Election: Nigerian Lawyer, Falana, Takes Museveni Complaints to the UN

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Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has filed a complaint at the United Nations against President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda over the illegal detention of Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.

Bobi Wine, a former reggae musician, had been under house arrest since Thursday night.

News Central reports that 38-year-old Bobi Wine was Museveni’s main challenger in the 14 January 2021 Presidential election.

Contesting as a presidential candidate under the umbrella of the National Union Platform (NUP), Bobi Wine had emerged second best after polling 38 per cent of the votes.

Museveni was declared winner after claiming 58 per cent of votes cast.

However, Ugandan forces had condoned off Wine’s house since last Thursday, effectively keeping him and his wife under house arrest and incommunicado.

On Tuesday, the United States Government announced that the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Natalie Brown, had been barred from seeing Bobi Wine

In a statement same day, Falana said that Bobi Wine had been denied access to his lawyers in a bid to prevent him from filing a petition against the declaration of Museveni as the winner of the highly flawed Presidential election.

“We have submitted a complaint against the government of Uganda to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the detention of the detained couple,” Falana said.

The complaint by Falana, which was attached to the statement, read in part, “Mr. Wine and his wife are being illegally detained for days without any criminal charges preferred against him. He has also been denied adequate supply of food by hundreds of Uganda military forces and policemen who have laid siege to his house for the umpteenth time since the election day.

“I am therefore seeking an opinion from the Working Group finding the house arrest and continuing detention of Mr. Wine and his wife to be arbitrary and in violation of Uganda’s Constitution of 1995 (as amended) and obligations under international human rights law including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Uganda is a state party.”

Also, a top U.S. diplomat to Africa, Tibor Nagy, called Uganda’s electoral process “fundamentally flawed,” citing “authorities’ denial of accreditation to election observers, violence and harassment of opposition figures” and the arrest of civil service organization workers.

“We continue to urge restraint and rejection of violence by all actors as Uganda’s election results are announced,” said Nagy in a series of tweets,.

“The immediate and full restoration of Internet connectivity is essential. The U.S. response hinges on what the Ugandan government does now.”

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