Washington, US | THE INDEPENDENT & AGENCIES | The new United States government led by Joe Biden has said it will consider targeting anyone involved in irregularities that they say marred the 2021 Uganda elections. (see interview full text bottom)
“Uganda’s January 14 elections were marred by elections irregularities and abuses by the government’s security services against opposition candidates and members of the civil society. We will consider a range of targeted options to hold accountable for what we saw in relation to Uganda elections,” said US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price at a press briefing on Tuesday.
The State Department called for an independent and thorough investigation of all election related abuses.
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING VIDEO
The US Department of State spokesman acknowledged the important role Uganda, and President Yoweri Museveni has played in regional stability, especially with AMISOM in Somalia, but said, “We can pursue our interests and values at the same time.”
Spokesperson Ned Price was responding to a question related to the decision by NUP presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, to withdraw his petition from the Supreme Court that he accused of being biased in favour of the incumbent Yoweri Museveni.
According to Uganda Electoral Commission results, Museveni won the January 2021 elections by 58.38% (6,042,893 votes), with Robert Kyagulanyi second with 35.08% (3,631,437 votes).
The Department of State advises the President and leads the nation in foreign policy issues. The State Department negotiates treaties and agreements with foreign entities, and represents the United States at the United Nations.
There statement is similar to that issued early this month by the European Parliament, warning of sanctions on anyone involved in election violence.
On February 11, members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to adopt 19 resolutions taking stock of the human rights violations in Uganda.
Some of the resolutions include; justice and accountability for Ugandans who died in November riots, increasing scrutiny of Uganda’s fiscal management and transparency and systematic review of EU budget support programmes.
They also reiterated the need for sanctions against individuals and organizations responsible for human rights violations in Uganda.
Government dismissed all the accusations and last week President Museveni met the EU representatives in Uganda to reiterate their position that the foreign experts were simply misinformed and interfering in matters they do not understand.
“By involving yourselves in matters that you don’t understand, even if you do understand, you should not get involved because this kind of misconduct can lead to many serious consequences and suffering of the people like it happened in some African countries,” Museveni said at the meeting.
QUESTION: Yes. So opposition leader Bobi Wine said on Sunday that he was dropping the legal challenge to Uganda’s presidential election results that handed the victory to incumbent Museveni, citing supreme court justice hearing the case were biased. Can the State Department comment on the latest development, and does the U.S. consider Museveni as a reliable partner in the war against terror?
MR PRICE: Well, I believe we said this before, but it probably bears reiterating that Uganda’s January 14th elections were marred by election irregularities and abuses by the government’s security services against opposition candidates and members of civil society. We strongly urge independent, credible, impartial, and thorough investigations into these incidents. We’ll consider a range of targeted options to hold accountable those members of the security forces responsible for these actions. When it comes to President Museveni, Uganda, of course, does continue to play a regional role and does have an important role when it comes to some of our interests in the region. It is a troop-contributing country to AMISOM in Somalia, in its international efforts to defeat al-Shabaab.
But again, this goes to the point that we’ve now made even more times throughout this briefing, that we can pursue our interests and pursue our values at the same time. We are considering, as I said, a range of targeted options to hold accountable those who are responsible for what we saw in the context of Uganda’s elections, just as we continue to work with Uganda to pursue some of our mutual interests.