Kenyan authorities have arrested four human rights activists outside Uganda House in Nairobi, the capital, as they went to present a protest letter on the Uganda elections.
The four – all Kenyans – had gathered to issue a press statement to condemn police brutality against the opposition in Uganda, where elections are being held on Thursday.
The activists are now being held for questioning at the Central Police Station.
They include Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid, Beatrice Waithera, Ojiro Odhiambo and Yassah Musa.
Police used teargas to disperse the growing crowd as they tried to bundle the protesters into a police land cruiser.
The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya) issued a statement demanding the police release them immediately.
“We demand the release of Hussein Khalid, Waithera Beatrice, Yassah Musa, and Ojiro Odhiambo, who were arrested outside the Ugandan Embassy for speaking against injustices in Uganda and demanding for a free and fair election. Freedom of assembly is a right!,” they said.
Amnesty International Kenya, also called for the release of the four.
President Yoweri Museveni, 76, is seeking his sixth elected term in office after 35 years in power. His main challenger, Robert Kyagulanyi, a former musician known by his stage name, Bobi Wine, has been arrested no fewer than four times.
There are other nine candidates vying for the presidential post.
On Tuesday, the Ugandan government shut down social media ahead of the tense election on Thursday, accusing Facebook and unnamed outside groups of “arrogance” after the social networks this week removed Ugandan accounts linked to his reelection campaign.
Some 18.1 million Ugandans are expected to participate in the general election on Thursday.
Uganda Election: U.S. Promises to Sanction Human Rights Abusers, Riggers
The United States has said it will take action against anti-democratic forces and human rights abusers in Uganda following Thursday’s general elections in the country.
The U.S. position came in a statement by the Department of State through its spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus.
Ortagus said the government was “deeply troubled” by credible reports of “security force violence” and election irregularities before and during the polls.
She called for independent investigations into the allegations, and urged the Ugandan government to hold accountable security agents responsible for violence and abuses.
“The Ugandan people turned out to vote in multi-party national elections on January 14 despite an environment of intimidation and fear.
“We are deeply troubled by the many credible reports of security force violence during the pre-election period and election irregularities during the polls.
“We strongly urge independent, credible, impartial, and thorough investigations into these reports and that those responsible be held accountable,” she said.
Earlier on Saturday, Uganda’s Electoral Commission declared long-time President Yoweri Museveni, winner of the disputed presidential election for a sixth term in office.
According to the results, Museveni, 76, secured 58.64 per cent of the total votes to beat his main challenger, Bobi Wine, who trailed with 35 per cent.
But the exercise has been marred by allegations of voter fraud and harassment of opposition politicians by security forces.
Reports say dozens of people were killed during violence in the run-up to the election.
Ahead of election day, the government shut down internet connections in the country, drawing condemnation from civil society and election observers.
Wine, a former music star, has vowed to provide evidence of election fraud when internet services are restored.
“We condemn the continuing attacks on political candidates and urge the government to respect their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression.
“We are gravely concerned by harassment of and continued threats to civil society.
“Finally, we note the continued nationwide shutdown of the Internet and call for its immediate restoration along with that of social media services,” Ortagus said.
She urged all political actors to shun violence and resolve all arising disputes through constitutional and legal means.
The spokesperson also called on the Ugandan government to respect freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly.
“We reiterate our intention to pursue action against those responsible for the undermining of democracy and human rights in Uganda,” Ortagus added.
Uganda Election: Bobi Wine Cries Fraud, May Release Video Evidence
Defeated presidential candidate in the Uganda election, Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, has alleged vote rigging as the Electoral Commission declares incumbent President Yoweri Museveni winner.
Museveni won almost 59% of the vote, with Bobi Wine trailing with about 35%.
Bobi Wine, a former pop star turned politician, has vowed to provide evidence of fraud but the Electoral Commission denies there was vote-rigging in Thursday’s election.
Poll monitors have criticised the government for closure of internet access, they said this undermined confidence.
Bobi Wine said he would provide evidence of fraud once the internet was restored.
Dozens of people were killed during violence in the run-up to the election, opposition politicians have also accused the government of harassment.
The result gives President Museveni a sixth term in office, the 76-year-old, in power since 1986, says he represents stability in Uganda.
On Friday, as the results came in, Bobi Wine said that Ugandan soldiers had surrounded and breached his home.
But a government spokesman accused him of “dramatising” the incident “to seek sympathy”.
“The electoral commission declares Yoweri Museveni… elected President of the Republic of Uganda,” election commission chairman Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama said on Saturday.
He said turnout was 57% of the almost 18 million registered voters, earlier, Byabakama said the vote had been peaceful, and called on Bobi Wine, who said some of his polling agents were arrested on Thursday, to make public the evidence for his fraud allegations.
The opposition candidate believes the internet shutdown is being used to block communication and as a way of compromising the vote.
“I will be happy to share the videos of all the fraud and irregularities as soon as the internet is restored,” Bobi Wine said.
Meanwhile, Wanyama, who is a spokesperson for President Museveni, hit back at Bobi Wine’s claims of vote rigging.
“He came short of the expectation of Ugandans,” he said in an interview.
“He had no message and Ugandans have told him he has to wait a little longer.”
Wanyama added: “We have challenged him to provide proof for his claims, he has not a single iota of evidence.”
The EU, the United Nations and several rights groups have previously raised concerns about the integrity of Uganda’s election.
But, aside from an African Union mission, there is currently no major international group monitoring the vote. Earlier this week the US – a major aid donor to Uganda – cancelled its diplomatic observer mission to the country, saying that the majority of its staff had been denied permission to monitor polling sites.
Violence reached an unprecedented level in the build-up to the race, and dozens have died during crackdowns by security forces.
Bobi Wine and other opposition candidates have been arrested on several occasions, and during protests that followed one arrest in November, more than 50 people were killed.
Museveni, who came to power on the back of an armed uprising in 1986, stood as leader of the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
He has long been depicted to Ugandans as a liberator and peace bringer.
His challenger Bobi Wine is a reggae star known by his supporters as the ghetto president. His party, the National Unity Platform (NUP), campaigns for basic needs like improving access to healthcare, education, clean water and justice.
Over the last two decades, Bobi Wine’s musical output has been filled with songs about these issues and they have inspired a fervent following.
He grew up in Kampala’s Kamwokya slum where he went on to build his now world-famous recording studio.
Museveni Defeats Bobi Wine To Re-emerge Ugandan President
Incumbent Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni has been announced as winner of the country’s Presidential election.
The electoral commission of Uganda announced the final results of the election on Saturday, 48 hours after the polls.
Museveni won 5,851,037 votes (58.64%) of the votes to emerge winner of the election. Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) won more than 3 million votes and over 34% of he votes.
It is Museveni’s lowest votes tally in 6 elections and the lowest since he had 59% in 2006 against Kizza Besigye.
The Presidential election was marred with trouble-ridden campaigns with an opposition candidate, Bobi Wine having some of his supporters killed.
Prior to the election, internet was shut down in Uganda while CSOs and NGOs were not allowed to observe.
United States observers were also not granted accreditation.
More than half of the 18m people who registered to vote in Uganda participated in the election.
Bobi Wine has since rejected the results, as he accused Museveni of riggin the election.
Security operatives have since surrounded Bobi Wine’s house, as they failed to allow local and foreign journalists into his premises.
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