A spokesperson for President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has slammed criticisms from the United States (US) government leveled against the way and manner in which his country’s January 14 general election was carried out and how Mr Museveni was declared the victor.
According to New Vision, a Ugandan news outlet connected to the government, the Ugandan government would like to see America “fix its own elections” rather than offer “lectures” to Uganda on how to do that. This comment was attributed to Ofwono Opondo, the spokesperson at the presidency.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson at the US State Department, Edward Price, said “Uganda’s January 14 elections were marred by election irregularities and abuses by the government’s security services against opposition candidates and members of civil society. We strongly urge independent, credible, impartial and thorough investigations into the incidents.”
Opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, otherwise known as Bobi Wine, who was Mr Museveni’s closest challenger, alleged that elections were fraudulent and filed a case with the country’s Supreme Court. But Wine withdrew his complaint citing the court’s “unprecedented bias, partiality and double standards.”
Wine, a former musician, is popular among Uganda’s youth and in urban areas. But according to the Electoral Commission, he polled at least, 2.4 million votes fewer than Mr Museveni. After the election, Wine’s home was surrounded by soldiers who refused to let him exit or receive certain visitors, including a delegation from the European Union (EU).
Both the EU and the US refused to send election observers because of what they said was the unfair conditions that characterised the polls.
Mr Museveni has been Uganda’s head of state since 1986. A revolutionary soldier who promised rule of law and development, the 76-year-old is now serving his sixth term in office, having pushed constitutional changes which made his current feat possible. He is currently the fourth longest-serving head of state on the continent.