Uganda’s government spokesman on Tuesday accused the US ambassador of breaching diplomatic norms and engaging in “mischief” over her attempt to visit opposition leader Bobi Wine, who is confined to his home. The former popstar-turned-politician has been under effective house arrest guarded by soldiers and police, since he cast his ballot in last Thursday’s presidential election, which he said was riddled with fraud.
US Ambassador Natalie Brown on Monday tried to meet with Wine — whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi — and was met with a line of police officers clad in riot gear who turned her away. “The purpose of Ambassador Brown’s visit was to check on Mr. Kyagulanyi’s health and safety, given that he’s effectively been unable to leave his home, with security forces surrounding his residence,” read a statement posted on the US Embassy’s Facebook page on Monday. Wine, 38, came second in the presidential election, which returned Yoweri Museveni to power for a sixth term, and has said he is cut off from his lawyers and party as the days tick by for him to challenge the vote in the courts. Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said the attempt by Brown, who took up her post during Uganda’s fraught election campaign, was a sign “that she is up to mischief”. “We expect her to write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to adhere to diplomatic norms. We don’t think that a friendly country or someone who wants to help out in a difficult situation would act in this way,” he told AFP.
“It is the arrogance of the Americans, who think they rule the world.” The embassy of the United States said Uganda’s election campaign had been “marred by the harassment of opposition candidates, campaign staff, and supporters; suppression of the media and civil society organization activities; and a nationwide internet shutdown before, during, and after voting day.” “These unlawful actions and the effective house arrest of a presidential candidate continue a worrying trend on the course of Uganda’s democracy.” Asked if Wine was under house arrest, Opondo said he is “under the protection of the Uganda government” because he is the “target of many forces”. “It’s in the interest of the Government of Uganda for him (Wine) not to be harmed in any way.”
Museveni sworn in for sixth term as Ugandan president
Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni was sworn in Wednesday for his sixth term as president, as police surrounded the home of his main opposition rival who decried the inauguration as a “sham”.
Museveni, who won re-election in January despite widespread reports of irregularities, took the oath of office at a ceremony in Kampala broadcast on national television and attended by several African heads of state and other foreign dignitaries.
The 76-year-old, wearing a dark blue suit and his trademark wide-brimmed safari hat, promised to “pay true allegiance” to the East African country he has ruled nonstop since taking power as a rebel leader in 1986.
His victory in January was overshadowed by the bloodiest pre-election crackdown in years, with opposition candidates forcibly prevented from campaigning and dozens of protesters killed by security forces.
Opposition leader Bobi Wine, who came second to Museveni in the ballot but declared the vote rigged, said police and soldiers had “besieged” his home on the outskirts of Kampala and prevented him from leaving.
“Dictator Museveni is swearing in well aware he stole the elections and disenfranchised Ugandans and he is scared of people opposing the sham ceremony,” the 39-year-old singer-turned-lawmaker told AFP.
“Even if he has sworn in, we will continue the struggle to dislodge him from power through peaceful means and this will come soon.”
Kizza Besigye, an opposition veteran who ran and lost against Museveni in four disputed and often violent presidential elections, was also placed under effective house arrest.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga described the measures as “normal” precautions taken to protect Wine and Besigye.
“There was intelligence reports that some people wanted to cause disruptions during the swearing-in ceremony and we took precaution to provide security for some leaders, including the opposition leaders including Bobi Wine and Besigye,” he said.
“This is normal security deployment for VIPs.”
However, Enanga also said Wine was planning to hold a parallel swearing-in ceremony and this would be “illegal and treasonous and police will not allow him to do so.”
Wine challenged the election result in court but later withdrew his petition, saying the judiciary was stacked in favour of Museveni.
In March he urged Ugandans to “rise up peacefully and unarmed” in protest against Museveni’s ongoing rule. Since the election, the opposition has alleged that security forces have been abducting their supporters.
Benin: Court confirms the re-election of President Talon
The re-election of President Patrice Talon was confirmed Wednesday by the Constitutional Court of Benin.
Talon, 62, in power since 2016, won the April 11 poll alongside Vice President Mariam Chabi Talata, with 1,982,534 votes out of a total of 2,297,315 valid votes cast, according to the court.
The re-elected president is the 14th head of state of the Republic of Benin.
Some opposition parties boycotted the presidential election due to pre-election violence and their objection to President Patrice Talon’s quest for a second term.
Somalia: Parliament votes to extend presidential term
The lower house of Somalia’s parliament voted on Monday to extend the president’s term by two years.
It is about letting the African nation prepare for direct elections, said Mohamed Mursal Sheikh, speaker of parliament.
One hundred and forty-nine (149) lawmakers voted in favor of the proposal which one rejected and three abstained, Mursal said.
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