By Melanie Nathan, Feb 20, 2017.After a turbulent few days in Uganda, including the arrest of the opposition presidential hopeful, Dr. Kizza Besigye, after social media was turned off to the populace, as well as the intimidation of people and press alike, by the Yoweri Museveni government, Besigye, the presidential candidate with the most opposition votes, released a press statement ( in full below), on his Facebook page, where he urges the International community to sanction Uganda and to refuse to recognize the sham election.
CNN has reported that : “Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s 30-year grip on power looks set to continue, as the country’s election commission declared him the winner Saturday, with nearly twice as many votes as his closest competitor, opposition leader Kizza Besigye. Preliminary figures showed the incumbent with 62% compared to 34% for Besigye. But Museveni’s party, the Federal Democratic Party of Uganda, or FDP, rejected the results and demanded independent audit of elections. Besigye is under house arrest, with no one is allowed in or out to see him. Elections officials are scheduled to announce the results Saturday. With more than half the votes counted, unofficial results showed the incumbent with 62%, according to the election commission’s website.
Members of the Press Corps and the Diplomatic Community,
We have just witnessed what must be the most fraudulent electoral process in Uganda. We participated in this process to highlight and show the world quite how fraudulent this military regime is. The Electoral Commission is not independent and its technical incompetence and partisanship has been made clear for all to see. The voting material was not delivered in time. People were unlawfully removed from the Voters’ Register whilst ghosts were wantonly added. Freedoms of assembly and expression were wantonly curbed. We were not free to carry out our campaigns without intimidation and interference from the partisan Uganda Police Force and the NRM’s militia dubbed the Crime Preventers.
On election day, all access to social media platforms was switched off. This can only have been designed to impede transparency of the election. The popular mobile money platforms were also disabled, cutting millions of ordinary people off from their meager resources. This can only be described as illegal collective punishment, which is an offense under international law.
Then after the elections as the Electoral Commission started announcing falsified results when we called a press conference to show the world how the results that we had, results that were announced at polling stations in the presence of citizens and our own polling agents, the Uganda Police Force brutally stormed our offices and arrested the Party President, Maj. General Mugisha Muntu, our Chief Mobiliser, Ms. Ingrid Turinawe, and myself. We were detained without charge at Naggalama Police Station and whilst General Muntu and I were released late in the night, Ms. Turinawe was detained overnight.
Today I am under house arrest. My home is sealed off and I am not allowed to leave. Nobody is allowed to access my home. I am also under some kind of electronic blockade. I am unable to access any form of internet service in my house.
Generally, the regime is baring its bloodied fangs and claws for all to see. This has not been an electoral process. This is a creeping military coup.
(II) A Profound Faith in Democracy
While I address you as a presidential candidate, I greet you today as human rights and a pro-democracy activist. As you know, I have dedicated my adult life to the struggle for democracy in Uganda.
Anyone who believes in human dignity, and who believes that we are all created in the image of God and that we all stand equal before the law, must be believe and practice democracy.
Anyone who believes in Pan-Africanism and the dignity of the African person, and that an African has the equal claim tolife as any person on this earth, must believe and practice democracy.
I believe deeply in my heart that the African Renaissance will never happen without democracy. I believe profoundly that the East African Federation would be stillborn without democracy.
Sir Winston Churchill once said that the empires of the future will be the empires of the mind. That was true and profound. I hasten to reframe that statement. The empires of the future will be the empires of democracy.
There can be no citizenship without democracy.
(III) International Community asked to sanction impunity and human rights violations
No one who can sanction these elections can credibly profess to be for democracy or for human rights in Africa. I am greatly heartened by the fact that the International Observer missions from the AU, the EU, and the Commonwealth have all, in their preliminary reports indicated that this exercise has not been free, fair, transparent or credible.
I urge you, on behalf of the brave citizens of Uganda, to reject the results of these sham elections.
To my fellow Ugandans, I salute your courage and thank you for your support and for believing in democracy and peace. Democracy is the only path to peace and prosperity and to the rule of law. Remain vigilant and steadfast. The struggle is long and hard but, in the end, we shall win if we continue in our patient and steadfast resolve. The regime cannot survive without our co-operation. Let us denounce this electoral theft by withdrawing our recognition of the regime and ceasing to co-operate with it.
Let us have the strength and the courage to finish this struggle. I mow deep in my heart that Uganda shall be free!
20th February 2016.
READ MORE about Dictatorial Oppression marring the elections in early days: HERE.