KAMPALA —The United States of America has sent a stern warning to individuals that perpetrate election violence in Uganda, and
warned them of serious consequences as the country gears up to the 2021 presidential and general elections.
In a statement on Wednesday, the US Embassy in Kampala indicated that Uganda’s upcoming elections have important significance for the country’s democratic development and expression to the will of the people was paramount.
Uganda has consistently recorded a lot of cases of violence during elections in the previous cycle of elections with individuals in the military and police pinpointed as perpetrators.
“The United States government reaffirms unequivocally that it does not support any specific candidate or party in Uganda’s upcoming elections. The United States supports the democratic process itself. This includes ensuring the safety of all candidates, respect for the rule of law, and the impartiality of the authorities in charge of managing the elections, a statement added.
The United States said it will pay close attention to actions of individuals and organizations who interfere in the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections.
“We will not hesitate to consider consequences for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process,” a statement added, “calling on all political parties, candidates, and supporters to promote a peaceful and transparent electoral process”.
Uganda’s upcoming presidential election is seen as a flashpoint for African democracy on a continent where many aging presidents continue to push for the elimination of term limits, even as civil society groups and ordinary Africans are pushing back.
For example, in Uganda, incumbent President, Yoweri Museveni came to power in 1986, after leading rebellions against two dictatorships. In the early days of his presidency he spoke out against leaders staying in power.
His party, the National Resistance Movement, dominates Uganda’s parliament, which government critics argue is Museveni’s rubber stamp.
But many young Ugandans have expressed discontent and a desire for change, particularly those living in the capital of Kampala.
Police and military are being deployed on the streets in Kampala ahead of Presidential nominations.