The National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine has said the people of Uganda have appreciated the United States of America for imposing visa restrictions on Ugandan officials who undermined democracy and respect of human rights during the recent general elections.
Speaking about USA’s decision on Monday, Bobi Wine said the statement by the United States is an important recognition that the recent elections were neither free nor fair.
“It sends an unequivocal message that although Gen Museveni boasts of controlling all Ugandan institutions that would call him to account, the world is watching and is beginning to act,” the former presidential candidate said in a statement.
“The victims of the worst human rights violations which we have witnessed, including families of hundreds of Ugandans murdered on Gen Museveni’s orders; thousands of victims of abductions and torture as well as those who are still under illegal detention have received this news with gratitude.”
Last week, Antony J. Blinken, the US Secretary of State said the restrictions were imposed on those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Uganda, including during the country’s January 14 general elections and the campaign period that preceded it.
“The Government of Uganda’s actions represent a continued downward trajectory for the country’s democracy and respect for human rights as recognized and protected by Uganda’s constitution. Opposition candidates were routinely harassed, arrested, and held illegally without charge, ” Mr Blinken said in a statement dated 16 April, 2021.
“Ugandan security forces were responsible for the deaths and injuries of dozens of innocent bystanders and opposition supporters, as well as violence against journalists that occurred before, during, and after the elections. Civil society organizations and activists working to support electoral institutions and transparent electoral processes have been targeted with harassment, intimidation, arrest, deportation, and spurious legal charges and denial of bank account access.”
The Secretary of State further stated that the government of Uganda limited accreditation for international and local election observers and civil society, but those who were able to observe the process noted widespread irregularities before, during, and after the election, which have undermined its credibility.
He added that the electoral process was neither free nor fair.
“Nevertheless, we continue to urge all parties to renounce violence and respect freedoms of expression, assembly, and movement.The Government of Uganda must significantly improve its record and hold accountable those responsible for flawed election conduct, violence, and intimidation.”
Mr Blinken also warned that the U.S. Government will continue to evaluate additional actions against individuals complicit in undermining democracy and human rights in Uganda, as well as their immediate family members.
” The United States also emphasizes that we strongly support the Ugandan people, and we remain committed to working together to advance democracy and mutual prosperity for both our countries.”
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