The US secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has imposed visa restrictions on Ugandan government officials for their gross acts that undermine Democratic Process in the country.
A statement issued on Friday said that “the Government of Uganda’s actions during the recent electoral process undermined democracy and respect for human rights.”
“Today I am announcing visa restrictions 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,” Blinken said.
The Government of Uganda’s actions, he said, 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. 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.” Blinken said.
He added that 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 government was also a caused of 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 said.
The most detained presidential candidate was FDC president Patrick Oboi amuriat. National Unity Platform principal Bobi Wine was also arrested many times and blocked from accessing his campaign venues.
They implored government to significantly improve its record and hold accountable those responsible for flawed election conduct, violence, and intimidation.
“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” Blinken said.
Officials not named
Blinken however didn’t name the affected individuals but in December 2020, seven top security commanders had been suggested by a US Senate committee.
They include Lt. Gen. Peter Elwelu, the Commander of Land Forces, Maj. Gen. James Birungi, the Commander of the Special Forces Command, Maj. Gen. Don William Nabasa, the former Commander of the Special Forces Command, Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho, the Chief of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Steven Sabiiti Muzeyi, the Deputy Inspector of General of Police, Frank Mwesigwa, a Commissioner of Police, and Col. Chris Serunjogi Ddamulira, the Director of Crime Intelligence.
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