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Uganda Election

Uganda Blocks US and EU From Observing Elections

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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).

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East-Africa

Ugandan Court Lifts Opposition Leader Bobi Wine’s House Arrest

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A Ugandan court has ordered security forces to cease surrounding the home of opposition leader Bobi Wine, whose house arrest since a mid-month presidential election has drawn international pressure, his lawyer said on Monday.

Troops have blocked the 38-year-old pop star-turned-politician from leaving his house in a suburb of the capital Kampala since he voted in the Jan. 14 election where he ran against long-serving incumbent President Yoweri Museveni.

“The judge ordered that the state and its agencies should immediately vacate his property and his right to personal liberty should immediately be reinstated,” lawyer George Musisi told Reuters.

Museveni, 76, who has been in power since 1986, was declared winner of the poll with 59% of votes versus 35% for Wine, who had for years denounced corruption and nepotism in his songs.

He rejected the result, alleging fraud which the government denies.

Musisi said the judge also ruled that if there were any serious allegations against Wine, he should be brought before a court or police.

Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said he had no immediate comment as the ruling had not been received.

There was no immediate reaction from the government or confirmation from the court.

U.S. ambassador Natalie E. Brown had tried to visit Wine at his home, drawing an accusation of meddling and subversion from the Ugandan government.

Reuters

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Uganda Election

Uganda To Restore Social-media Sites On ‘Case-by-Case Basis’

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The Uganda government insisted, it will maintain a tight grip on social-media sites as it attempts to deal with the post election security situation.

Kampala authorities said they were still analyzing the situation and sites will be restored on “a case-by-case basis,” according to Information, Communication and Technology and National Guidance Minister of State Peter Ogwang.

The Internet cables in Uganda were plugged out just hours before the election day. Uganda closed social-media sites and blocked access to the internet on the eve of presidential elections on January 14.

Access to the internet was restored on January 18.

The government said it will maintain its shutdown of Facebook, Twitter and other social-media platforms until the government deems they’re safe from being used to inflame tensions, reported state owned New Vision newspaper.

Meanwhile, the opposition which lost to incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, have also swept the parliamentary seats for constituencies within the central region including the Mayor of the Capital Kampala.

However, for former presidential candidate in the just concluded presidential elections, Gen Henry Tumukunde, says the option of going to court to challenge the victory of NRM presidential candidate Museveni is still on the table.

Across opposition strongholds in Kampala, the reaction to President Museveni’s contested re-election has been muted, with his rival’s supporters too fearful — or dispirited — to take to the streets.

Analysts say, this could be the reason why government will maintain a grip on the internet until the anger in the opposition camp is over. The military is largely present and in-charge of security within the capital city which is also the main opposition stronghold.

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Uganda Election

Singer Jose Chameleon Competing For Kampala Mayor Seat

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Uganda’s dancehall artiste Jose Chameleon aka Mayanja Joseph has this morning cast his vote in a tight race for the Kampala city Mayor seat. He is running as an Independent candidate without any affiliation to a political party.

“I have a big chance of winning this. At first, they disrespected artistes who joined politics but our music has done a good job. Get my songs and remove the beats and read the message you will realise we write with a purpose. We see different things happening to people. Unless they rig these elections, but people are ready and willing to vote for Mayanja because they have studied me and found out that I’m the right person. I can’t sing all these songs and still have a coconut head,” said Chameleone.

At around 9AM, the singer finished casting his vote at Mutungo Biina, Kaduuka polling station. He said he was confident that he will emerge successful at the end of the day.

Uganda is currently holding elections for the Lord Mayor, directly elected councillors and women councillors for Kampala Capital City Authority and the ten cities across the country.

Reports indicate that at all the polling stations, the turn out is still so low and some people place the blame on the dissatisfaction that came from the Presidential and parliamentary elections.

Incumbent Kampala city Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago has attributed the low voter turnout in the district elections to what he believes were irregularities in the Presidential election that led to NUP’s Robert Kyagulanyi being locked up in his own home.

Another artist Daniel Kazibwe populary known by his stage name Ragga Dee is contending for the Mayoral seat on the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ticket. He cast his vote at Kizungu meeting point polling station in Makindye 1.

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