Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

top
Opponents of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (L) like Bobi Wine have faced a fierce crackdown from the state during the election campaign

Africa

Ugandan opposition urges voters to guard against rigging

Kampala, Uganda, Jan 12 – Uganda’s opposition frontrunner on Tuesday urged supporters to turn out in large numbers and to “protect” this week’s election from rigging, accusing the ruling party of trying to intimidate voters.

The appeal from Bobi Wine came as the popstar-turned-presidential aspirant alleged his home was raided and staff beaten by security forces ahead of Thursday’s election.

Wine, 38, has emerged the main challenger to 76-year-old President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled since 1986 and is seeking re-election after constitutional changes allowed him to seek a sixth consecutive term.

The veteran leader has been accused of clinging to power and skewing the playing field ahead of the vote.

Campaigns have been suspended in opposition strongholds, and Museveni’s rivals denied permission to rally, under the pretext of containing the coronavirus.

The electoral commission, again citing Covid-19 regulations, has ordered the 18 million Ugandans registered in the presidential and parliamentary ballot to leave polling stations quickly after casting their vote.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said the ruling party was trying to scare voters away from the ballot box and urged them to record any abuses or irregularities on polling day.

“We encourage all voters to stay and guard the vote,” he told reporters in Kampala, flanked by two other opposition candidates.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Uganda © AFP

“We are telling you, you will not be breaking the law when you stay and protect your vote. We encourage you to use your phones, use your cameras. Your phone is a very powerful weapon, that camera is very powerful, use it.”

The run-up to the vote has been marred by some of the worst pre-election violence in years with dozens killed in street protests in November.

Wine said that his home was raided Tuesday morning and staff beaten and detained, just days after he sent his family to the United States, citing safety concerns.

The popular musician, who turned to politics in 2017, has been arrested and harassed by police throughout the campaign, and donned a bulletproof vest and combat helmet after complaining of being repeatedly shot at.

Four-time presidential candidate Kizza Besigye, himself a veteran target of campaign violence, described the brutality directed at opposition candidates this election as “unprecedented”.

“It seems to be scaled up every coming election,” said Besigye, who is not running this year.

“That is I believe not surprising, because the lower the support for the regime goes, the more they replace it with repression and violence.”

Access to Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter was disrupted in Uganda on Tuesday.

Last week, Wine’s party launched an app to track election results in tandem to government tallies but access to the service has been disrupted.

Facebook announced on Monday it had shut a slew of accounts belonging to Ugandan government officials accused of seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of the elections.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Comments
Advertisement

More on Capital News

World

Washington (AFP), May 26 – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Thursday for vigorous competition with China to preserve the existing global order...

World

Uvalde (United States) (AFP), May 24 – Desperate parents scuffled with police and pleaded with them to storm the Texas school where a gunman...

World

Tivaouane (Senegal) (AFP), May 26 – Eleven newborn babies died in a hospital fire blamed on an electrical short circuit in Senegal’s western city...

World

Kharkiv (Ukraine) (AFP), May 24 – Ukraine said Thursday the war in the east of the country had hit its fiercest level yet as...

World

London (AFP), May 26 – The BBC is to axe 1,000 jobs and scrap some broadcast channels in traditional form as it prioritises digital...

COUNTDOWN TO 2022

NAIROBI, Kenya May 26 – With the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) expected to Gazette qualified presidential candidates, a safety concern is lingering...

World

After last week’s Pishori Babes syndicate highlighted by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the real Mama Pishori has emerged and is reaping big...

AUGUST 9 COUNTDOWN

Chief Justice Martha Koome mandated Lenaola to lead the talks following a courtesy visit by LSK President Eric Theuri.