Monday, February 6, 2023

‘Unprecedented’ violence as Uganda prepares for elections | Election News

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Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine said soldiers raided his home two days before the crucial vote.

Opposition figures in Uganda have criticized widespread violence by the security forces ahead of Thursday’s presidential election as main challenger Bobi Wine said soldiers raided his home and beat two security guards.

“The terror, frankly, is unprecedented,” said Kizza Besigye, an opposition veteran who challenged longtime President Yoweri Museveni in four elections. “The violence and terror seem to escalate with each upcoming election. This election has witnessed incalculable violence. It gets worse and worse day by day.

Patrick Onyango, spokesman for the police in the capital Kampala, denied that Wine’s home had been searched or that anyone had been arrested, saying: “We were reorganizing our security position in the nearby area. from his home, by specifically removing certain checkpoints.

Wine, a popular singer and politician whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, spoke alongside other opposition figures in Kampala on the last day of the campaign as they sought to deny Museveni another term. .

The atmosphere is more and more charged. The army is in charge of all security operations in the Kampala metropolitan area.

Wine, who insisted his campaign was non-violent, urged his supporters not to be intimidated by the security forces.

At 38, Wine is half the age of Museveni and has attracted a large following among young people in a country where 80% of the population is under 30.

He is considered the favorite among 10 candidates challenging the former rebel leader who took power in 1986.

While security forces have cracked down on the opposition in previous polls, preparations for this year’s vote have been particularly violent. In November, 54 people were killed as soldiers and police cracked down on protests after Wine was jailed.

Wine said the raid on his resort in Kampala and the arrest of his guards took place while he was conducting an interview with Kenya’s Hot 96 FM radio station.

“I have to end the interview because I can see soldiers beating my security guards,” he said.

Prevent vote rigging

Wine and other leading opposition candidates said they had launched a concerted effort to protect themselves from vote rigging at polling stations.

They urge their supporters to stay within 100 meters of polling stations rather than returning home as requested by the electoral commission. This means potential confrontations with the security forces.

Police and military personnel are now patrolling the streets in parts of Kampala.

Ugandan authorities also appeared to shut down Facebook on Tuesday in retaliation for its decision to censor numerous Ugandan accounts linked to Museveni that allegedly behaved inauthentically.

Many Ugandans said that WhatsApp is not working either.

A presidential spokesman on Monday accused Facebook of interference in the elections in the East African country.

A spokesperson for the Ugandan Communications Commission, the regulator, did not respond to requests for comment.

Ugandan authorities have affirmed the urgent need to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by imposing restrictions on presidential candidates, including a ban on campaigns in Kampala and other urban areas.

Many members of Wine’s campaign team are now in prison. Wine has been arrested several times and occasionally beaten over the past year for alleged offenses such as disobeying legal orders. He was not found guilty of any charges.

Museveni accused Wine of being “an agent of foreign interests”. The 70-year-old leader has defied calls for his retirement, saying he has been elected repeatedly by Ugandans who love him.

Ugandan polls are often marred by allegations of rigging. The country has never experienced a peaceful transfer of power since its independence from Britain in 1962.


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