Uganda warns foreign observers against meddling in forthcoming polls

BEHIND BARS: General David Sejusa

BEHIND BARS: General David Sejusa

The Ugandan government has cautioned international election observers against meddling in the forthcoming February 18th General elections.

“Government has invited both local and international election observers. All these groups are free to conduct the necessary due diligence in accordance with the laws of Uganda, and established and well known international norms and practices. Government does not therefore expect particularly members of the diplomatic missions here to unduly meddle in our internal politics and elections as some of them are already doing,” said Ofwono Opondo, the Executive Director of the government run Uganda Media Centre.

In a strongly worded statement, Ofwono Opondo said that government takes strong exception to meddling and would like to caution those doing so to desist forthwith, and in case there are matters of concern they should be addressed through the appropriate diplomatic channels.

“Uganda seeks mutual respect to its sovereignty in accordance with international laws, norms and practices,” he added.
The government also warned opposition candidates against continued talk of defiance during the on-going election campaigns, saying that it has resulted into isolated cases of violence in several parts of the country.

“It has come to the attention of government that in spite of early and repeated caution some elements in the opposition have continued to talk of defiance during the on-going election campaigns. This is very evident in the tone and statements of the Forum for Democratic (FDC) Presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye, and some of his supporters especially parliamentary candidates allied to him. These incidents although isolated and limited in nature are of great concern to all law abiding and loving members of the public,” Ofwono Opondo said.

In a related development, Opondo asaid the government is investigating reports that the jailed former Spy Chief Gen. David Sejusa is linked to the recruitment of militia groups that are planning to cause chaos during the polls.

He said that government is following reports that appear to link Gen. David Sejusa akaTinyefuza to some of these groups, and if found to be true appropriate actions will certainly be taken to curtail and neutralize his activities.

“While the public has generally shunned recruitment into political quasi militias, some opposition groups continue to mobilize under the pseudo names of Power Ten (P10) mainly in Kampala, Wakiso and parts of Mukono districts. It is this group that is responsible for the on-going fraudulent collection of people’s National Identity cards (IDs) or writing down ID numbers with suspect dubious and criminal intentions.These same fringe opposition groups are mobilizing what they call Platform to Rescue Uganda, and Benghazi Pressure Group similar to those in Libya in 2010/11,” he stated.

General Sejusa was picked up and detained Sunday as his home in a Kampala suburb was besieged by the military and security agents. He is still being held at a military barracks in the Ugandan capital.

Until his arrest, the rogue general has been vocal and critical against President Yoweri Museveni and his government labeling the president “dictator” and alleging the president and the military has already rigged the elections in Museveni’s favour. Through his social media accounts, Sejusa has linked Museveni and his close military and police generals in the disappearances and deaths of several high profile politicians in Uganda.

Ahead of the February 18 election, Museveni and his rivals are traversing the country canvassing for votes. Museveni, who has been in power for 30 years, is campaigning for his fifth term in office and his the favourite to win the election.