US Ambassador to Uganda Natalie E Brown was on Monday denied access to Uganda opposition candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine at his residence by Ugandan security forces.
In a statement, the US Embassy in Kampala on January 18 said the purpose of Ambassador Brown’s visit was to check on Kyagulanyi’s health and safety, given that he’s effectively been unable to leave his home, with security forces surrounding his residence.
Bobi Wine confirmed this tweeting,” This afternoon, the US Ambassador to Uganda made an effort to visit me but was turned away from my gate by the soldiers who have held me and my wife captive for the past five days.”
On Sunday, the National Unity Platform leader said that he had run out of food supplies and when his wife, Barbara tried to pick food from the garden, she was blocked and assaulted by soldiers staged in their compound. He noted that it was four days since the military surrounded their home and placed them under house arrest.
“Uganda’s election campaigns were marred by the harassment of opposition candidates, campaign staff, and supporters; suppression of the media and civil society organization activities; and a nationwide internet shutdown before, during, and after voting day.”
“These unlawful actions and the effective house arrest of a presidential candidate continue a worrying trend on the course of Uganda’s democracy,” the US embassy said.
The mission called on the Ugandan government to respect their citizens’ human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression, assembly and the press as provided for in Uganda’s constitution and commitments U to uphold international human rights standards.
“Nobody should be unlawfully denied a means to communicate and the freedom to leave their home, should they choose to do so,” they said.
On January 13, a day to the general election, Ambassador Brown cancelled US observation of the polls, saying the move was informed by the decision by the Electoral Commission to deny more than 75 per cent of the US election observer accreditations requested.
Tibor Nagy, Assistant Secretary for US Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, on Saturday said Uganda’s electoral process was fundamentally flawed.
“We warn against actions against opposition candidates or their supporters, those responsible will be held accountable,” Nagy said.