The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly has cautioned Uganda government against the move it has taken to disconnect internet ahead of the Presidential polls tomorrow (Thursday).
“I am receiving worrying allegations of internet shutdown and blocking of access to social media platforms ahead of tomorrow’s general elections in Uganda. Access to information& communication tools is critical for fair, transparent and peaceful elections,” said Clement Voule -the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly.
Meanwhile, Tibor Nagy the Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs has expressed simillar concern against Uganda’s decision to shutdown the internet.
“We are concerned by reports that the Government of Uganda has ordered Internet service providers to block social media platforms, messaging apps, and select content in the run up to general elections on Jan 14. Such restrictions undermine human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Tibor said on Tuesday.
For President Yoweri Museveni who is also among a dozen candidates seeking the Presidential slot claims that opposition candidates especially Robert Kyagulanyi of National Unity Platform are being funded by foreigners.
Uganda government has in the final hours towards the polling day, refused to invite the US and European Union to observe the elections.
The U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Natalie E. Brown said on Wednesday, “Sadly, I announce decision not to observe Uganda’s elections due to Uganda Electoral Commission’s decision to deny more than 75% of our accreditation requests. A robust contingent of observers, including local entities, promotes transparency and accountability.”
According to Robert Kyagulanyi, the government refused to invite the EU Mission to observe this election. Now, U.S. observers have also been denied accreditation.
“The world knows why Gen. Museveni is doing this. So unpopular and yet very desperate to declare himself winner at all costs. Uganda, turn up and vote,” Kyagulanyi the main challenger in this race said on Wednesday.
Don Wanyama the Senior Press Secretary to President Museveni said Uganda does not need foreigners to observe this forthcoming election.
“There are African Union and EAC observers. Those can do. I don’t remember when Uganda last sent election observers to the US,” Wanyama said in responce to complaint from the US envoy.
Meanwhile, Museveni is scheduled to address the nation in the next few minutes at full hour 9PM East African time (8PM in Rwanda).