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U.S threatens visa ban on Ugandan officials for undermining democracy

Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Secretary of State Antony Blinken [Photo credit: FT]

The United States says it would enforce visa restrictions on identified Ugandan officials believed to have been responsible for or complicit in undermining the country’s democratic process, especially during the run up to the January general elections and the aftermath.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement issued on Friday said that the actions of the President Museveni led government during the recent presidential elections undermined democracy and respect for human rights in Uganda. 

Mr Blinken said that the actions perpetuated by the ruling government represents what he referred to as a ‘downward trajectory’ for the country’s democracy and its respect for human rights as acknowledged by the constitution. 

”The Government of Uganda’s actions during the recent electoral process undermined democracy and respect for human rights,” Mr Blinken said.

The government of Uganda’s actions represent a continued downward trajectory for the country’s democracy and respect for human rights as recognised and protected by Uganda’s constitution,” he added.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni [Photo credit: The China Africa Project]

Mr Blinken said that actions of Ugandan security forces during the period led to loss of lives and injuries for innocent by standers and also opposition supporters. He also added that opposition candidates were routinely harassed, arrested and held illegally without a charge. 

Mr Blinken further noted violence, harassment, intimidation, arrest and deportation against journalists, electoral observers, civil society organisations and activists working to support electoral institutions and transparent electoral process. 

Peoples Gazette had during the elections reported the unfair, unjust and non-transparent conditions under which the elections were held.

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These include unprecedented violence initiated by state actors, violent disruptions and dispersions at opposing campaign events, extra-judicial killings of protesters and injuries inflicted on many opposition supporters and by-standers for merely expressing their fundamental rights to franchise and self determination. 

During and after the elections, the lead opposition candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, popularly known as Bobi Wine has accused state forces of abduction and torture of his key campaign officials.

Bobi Wine had said that when his abducted supporters turn up, they are either dead or severely tortured and injured. 

Mr Museveni had extended his thirty-six years grip on power after the widely criticized electoral outcome in the January elections. 

The United States concluded that Uganda’s 2021 electoral process lacked credibility and was neither free nor fair, while urging both parties to embrace peace and respect the fundamental freedoms of their people, the U.S. says it will continue to evaluate additional actions against individuals complicit in undermining democracy and human rights in Uganda as well as their immediate family members.

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