South Africa’s Julius Malema joined leaders from around the world in condemning Museveni regime violence.
Leaders in Africa, Europe, and the United States have condemned the state brutality that has accompanied elections in Uganda, where popular challenger is poised to use the surging youth vote to unseat Gen. Yoweri Museveni, the country’s 76 year old dictator who has been in power since 1986.
Bobi Wine, whose given name is Robert Kyagulanyi, is a 38 year old Member of Parliament, a businessman, and popular musician. Eighty percent of Uganda’s population is under the age of 35. In the last three years Bobi Wine has launched a vivigorous voter drive and recruited millions of new young voters on the roll.
Ugandans went to the polls Thursday and the votes are now being counted. The violence against the opposition, especially Bobi Wine — but including Patrick Amuriat, leader of the Forum for Democratic Change— alarmed many people around the world and some leaders took to Twitter to condemn the Museveni regime.
Julius Malema, President of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters political party tweeted, “We call on Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to desist from practicing thuggery, intimidation and violence in order to secure electoral victory. Africa must stop being a site of violence at times of elections, because of aging leaders who refuse to let go of power.”
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, who has introduced a resolution calling for sanctions against human rights abusers in Uganda, tweeted, “Just a day before elections, the Museveni regime is doing all it can to thwart the democratic rights of the Ugandan people. No country can take democratic freedom for granted. We must make clear there will be consequences for undermining democracy, in #Uganda and here at home.”
Shehu Sani, a Nigerian senator tweeted: “There is no indication that @KagutaMuseveni is willing to handover power no matter the outcome of the elections, but we must continue to support and encourage @HEBobiwine to lead his country to freedom. It’s time for Museveni to go, let there be light in #Uganda #UgandaDecides2021
Tibor Nagy, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa tweeted: “We are concerned by reports that the Government of Uganda has ordered internet service providers to block social media platforms, messaging apps, and select content in the run up to general elections on Jan. 14. Such restrictions undermine human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Robert Amsterdam who has represented Bobi Wine tweeted: “Message to Embassies! Please refrain from using the term election. It will be neither fair or free. Violence has been deployed as has internet stoppage and illegal detention. An attempt is being made to hijack the future. Do not be silent witnesses #Uganda.
The United Nations Human Rights Commission tweeted: “We are deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation ahead of elections. We call on the authorities to protect #HumanRights, and to ensure a free & peaceful election process, incl. by taking measures to prevent electoral violence.”
Steve Ogolla, a prominent Kenyan lawyer said, “There’s a genuine concern that Uganda election is not free and fair. Museveni created a climate of fear through state violence, arbitrary arrests and prosecution of rivals. But still, Bobi Wine is is voting. Election fraud is documented at the ballot, not through boycotts and mayhem.”
Vatican News, a service provided by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication, tweeted, “Polls open on Thursday across Uganda as the country elects its president after election campaigns marred by violence.”
Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, based in Johannesburg, tweeted, “Open Letter on the egregious and widespread pre-electoral violence, intimidation, and repressive measures threaten free and fair electoral process in Uganda ahead of the election schedule tomorrow 14 January 2020.”
Christian Amanpour, the CNN senior correspondent, who interviewed Museveni two days ago, tweeted, “President @KagutaMuseveni of Uganda is running for a sixth term in an election that has been marred by violence and brutal crackdowns by security officials. Will he accept results if he loses this week? ‘Of course,’ he tells me, ‘because Uganda is not my house.’”
A tweet from the Department of Government at Uppsala, a top Swedish university, states, “Museveni’s rule by violence sends clear message to opponents”
Another Kenyan, Gabriel Oguda, tweeted, “Museveni is running Uganda like his village tuckshop, but you won’t hear the African Union say anything about it. But when someone in Mali volunteered to escort the President out of office, the AU wailed uncontrollably you’d have thought they had been pickpocketed on River Road.”