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Uganda Jails Former Presidential Aspirant Three Years for Abusing Judges

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Ivan Samuel Ssebadduka, a former presidential aspirant in Uganda, has been jailed three years by the country’s Supreme Court for using abusive language against the judges, including calling them a “council of fools”.

The 36-year-old was jailed for contempt of court and will spend the next three years in Uganda Government Prison Kitalya.

Ssebadduka had in September filed a petition at the Supreme Court, seeking to stop a requirement for presidential aspirants to collect nomination signatures.

He also wanted the court to suspend the coronavirus safety restrictions issued by the health ministry on the conduct of campaign rallies.

He used the offensive remarks while defending the petition before the judges.

Chief Justice Alfonse Owinyi-Dollo was quoted as saying that criticism against judges should be accurate and fair, and should not infringe on the the rights of others.

On November 11, local media reported that Ssebadduka, a week after he was summoned by the Supreme Court to explain why he shouldn’t be found guilty for contempt of court after using abusive language against Judges, followed up with more insults. He described the Justices as incompetent, saying the accusations of contempt of court are baseless because the justices can’t challenge him legally.

“We didn’t offend you or you’re so-called Supreme Court because it is not a court in the first place. It is a Council of fools…” Ssebadduka’s response to the summons read in part.

He added, “It is very unfortunate that we entrust you with the judiciary because you don’t deserve to be judges. A judge must have judgment but it is very unfortunate that you don’t have common sense, which is common”, reads his response in part.

After the ruling, Ssebadduka was immediately handcuffed by security and driven to his next home of three years.

The Supreme court decision in Uganda is final as it is the last appellate court in the country, and unless the justices choose, for some reason, to review their decision or Ssebadduka gets a presidential pardon, he will be expected to serve his entire jail term.

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Uganda Election: U.S. Promises to Sanction Human Rights Abusers, Riggers

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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.

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Uganda Election: Bobi Wine Cries Fraud, May Release Video Evidence

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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.

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Museveni Defeats Bobi Wine To Re-emerge Ugandan President

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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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