By Seun Adeuyi
The United States (US) says it will sanction anti-democratic forces and human rights abusers in Uganda, following last Thursday’s presidential elections in the country.
The US, who made this known in a statement by the Department of State through its spokesperson, Ms Morgan Ortagus, on Saturday, said the government was “deeply troubled” by credible reports of “security force violence” and election irregularities before and during the polls.
Ortagus called for independent investigations into the allegations and urged the Ugandan authorities to hold accountable security agents responsible for violence and abuses.
She said, “The Ugandan people turned out to vote in multi-party national elections on Jan. 14 despite an environment of intimidation and fear.
“We are deeply troubled by the many credible reports of security force violence during the pre-election period and election irregularities during the polls.
“We strongly urge independent, credible, impartial, and thorough investigations into these reports and that those responsible be held accountable.”
Earlier on Saturday, long-timeEarlier President Yoweri Museveni, was declared winner of the disputed presidential election for a sixth term in office.
According to the results announced by Uganda’s Electoral Commission, 76-year-old Museveni, secured 58.64 per cent of the total votes to beat his main challenger, Bobi Wine, who trailed with 35 per cent.
But the poll has been marred by allegations of voter fraud and harassment of opposition politicians by security forces. According to reports, dozens of people were killed during violence in the run-up to the election.
The government shut down Internet connections in the country, ahead of Election Day, drawing condemnation from civil society and election observers.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that Wine, a former pop star, has vowed to provide evidence of election fraud when internet services are restored.
Ortagus said, “We condemn the continuing attacks on political candidates and urge the government to respect their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression.
“We are gravely concerned by harassment of and continued threats to civil society. Finally, we note the continued nationwide shutdown of the Internet and call for its immediate restoration along with that of social media services.”
While urging all political actors to shun violence and resolve all arising disputes through constitutional and legal means, she called on the Ugandan government to respect freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly.
The statement added, “We reiterate our intention to pursue action against those responsible for the undermining of democracy and human rights in Uganda.”