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Uganda Election

Uganda Fails To Adhere To Scientific Campaigns Under Covid-19

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In July, the government of Uganda had announced that presidential campaigns would be conducted in a scientific manner- meaning no physical campaign rallies but the complete use of electronic infrastructure such as social media, Television, Radio and other virtual methods.

On June 16, the Uganda Electoral Commission issued a press release banning public rallies for the 2021 political campaigns as part of the country’s Covid-19 containment measures. “Campaigns will now be conducted on radio and television, in newspapers, and on the internet,” the Uganda Electoral Commission said then.

However, six months later, all the presidential candidates are traversing the country and holding physical rallies where voters assemble without any face masks on and with complete disregard of social distancing.

An attempt of the opposition to access radio and television stations can be described as near impossible especially when security agents have been reported to switch off Masts, cut off electricity to these media houses whenever an opposition candidate has schedule or while on air.

On August 13, 2020, presidential candidate of the National Unity Platform, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine dragged government to court for blocking of his radio talk shows. In July, police in Jinja tried to stop Bobi Wine from speaking on a local radio and attempted to enter the studio but were denied access.

Despite paying Shs 1.2 million to the station, Kyagulanyi was blocked by police from appearing on BCU FM in August. Kyagulanyi was expected to appear on BCU FM between 9:00 am to 12:00 pm together with Manjiya County MP John Baptist Nambeshe, Mbale district Forum for Democratic Change chairperson and Margret Wokuri, one of the aspirants for the Industrial City Division parliamentary seat.

“So why is there a situation, it’s okay for some for the Museveni’s to engage on radios and TVs but it is not okay for honourable Kyagulanyi Ssentamu to engage in the media. We’re saying what is good for the goose should be good for the gander and we shall not keep complaining and sending warnings. We’re going to take actions – legal action in every sense and internationally because Uganda is part of the international community. We’re not going to watch by as our rights are being violated.” NUP spokesperson, Joel Ssenyonyi said.

Ssenyonyi warned security against continuing to break the law by blocking Kyagulanyi from appearing on radio stations yet the Electoral Commission has sanctioned digital campaigns on radios and TVs. He says the officers mounted roadblocks on all roads leading to the station and directed management not to host Kyagulanyi.

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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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