Gen. Museveni, running Uganda like “Papa Doc” with his son “Baby Doc” Gen. Kainerugaba. Photo: Facebook.
Today marks the first anniversary of Uganda’s bloodiest elections since independence in 1962.
The 2021 vote was so violent and blatantly rigged in favor of Gen. Yoweri Museveni, the country’s dictator of 36 years, that the U.S., which has always backed the regime issued a statement saying the election was “neither free, nor fair.”
This in essence means the U.S., which provides the regime with about $1 billion in annual financial and economic support doesn’t recognize Gen. Museveni as the legitimate president of Uganda. In addition to rejecting the results the U.S. announced targeted sanctions on officials responsible for the violence and for undermining the vote. The regime officials’ names remain sealed.
Tens of thousands of people showed up at the campaign rallies of the main challenger Robert Kyagulanyi, a.k.a Bobi Wine, signaling that Gen. Museveni was heading to a landslide defeat. Bobi Wine, who is 39, captured the imagination of tens of millions of Ugandans, a country where more than 80% of the population is under the age of 35. Gen. Museveni’s official age is 77; most Ugandans believe he’s well in his 80s.
It’s clear that without the support of the U.S. and the E.U. —which also provides about $1 billion in annual support to the Museveni regime—the dictatorship wouldn’t endure.
During a virtual news conference today Bobi Wine called on the U.S. to “stop funding” the oppression of Ugandans. He noted that Gen. Museveni always blackmails the U.S. by threatening to withdraw Ugandan troops from Somalia whenever he’s challenged about his crimes. Somalia is unstable and Washington fears the country could fall to Islamist forces without an African Mission to Somalia peace keeping force (AMISOM). Bobi Wine said a Uganda governed by a legitimate and democratically elected government would still participate in ensuring stability in Somalia.
It was clear from the get-go of the 2021 election that there would be blood on the streets. When Bobi Wine was arrested while campaigning his supporters came out to protest. Museveni’s regime mowed down more than 100 people. The dictators himself admitted that “only” 54 were killed.
The Internet was cut and social media including Facebook blocked before the Jan. 14, 2021 election date. Although no data could be transmitted from polling stations during this blackout, the regime still concocted bogus results. Meanwhile, a privately developed App called Uvote showed that Bobi Wine was leading nationally with 54% of the vote. Uvote let users upload images of the tallies—called Declaration of Results Forms—from voting precincts, which were then transmitted to a dedicated server.
After the elections, the Museveni dictatorship launched a campaign of kidnapping, torture and killings of NUP supporters and anyone suspected of supporting the opposition. This state-terrorism continues.
During a recent critical by-election in Kayunga district on Dec. 16, 2021 for a council seat, the NUP candidate Harriet Nakwedde’s supporters were assaulted by security agents; Nakwedde herself sustained a head wound. Even though Declaration of Results Forms showed Nakwedde won by over 14,000 votes the official results awarded “victory” to the regime candidate Andrew Muwonge.
In addition to the actions announced by the U.S. State Department against the regime last April, on Dec. 7, 2021, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed Global Magnitsky sanctions, including a travel ban, against Gen. Abel Kandiho. He’s commander of Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) the notorious secret police.
Human rights abuses continue. On December 28, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, the PEN International 2021 Writer of Courage, was arrested by security agents who broke into his home. According to his lawyer Eron Kiiza, Rukirabashaija has been tortured while in captivity. PEN International has issued a statement condemning the abuse of Rukirabashaija and demanding his unconditional release. He is the author of “The Greedy Barbarian,” a novel about a corrupt African dictator.
Rukirabashaija is believed to have been arrested after he tweeted a reference to the rotund Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who is Museveni’s son, as an “obese” general.
Museveni and Kainerugaba impose terror on Uganda, much in the same way in which Haiti was once ruled by dictator Francois Duvalier, a.k.a Papa Doc, and his son Jean-Claude Duvalier, or Baby Doc.
The sanctions announced by the U.S. after Museveni stole the 2021 elections, and the sanctions against Gen. Kandiho are steps in the right direction.
Since the U.S. is determined to continue supporting African peace-keeping operations in Somalia, other countries must be invited to join in order to eliminate any more blackmailing from Museveni. Countries with democratically-elected governments such as Ghana, South Africa, and Senegal would be ideal candidates.
Gen. Museveni and Gen. Kainerugaba would no longer be able to use the Somalia card to get away with crimes against humanity in Uganda.