The United States government has said it’s not supporting any candidate in Uganda’s general election and threatened action against “individuals and organizations who interfere in democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during or after the elections.”
The remarks come at a time western powers are being accused of supporting presidential hopeful Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
Several congressmen and powerful lobby groups in U.S. have since thrown their weight behind Bobi.
But in a statement issued on Wednesday, the U.S. Mission in Kampala said its government “reaffirms unequivocally that it does not support any specific candidate or party in Uganda’s upcoming elections. The United States supports the democratic process itself.”
Presidential aspirants, including President Yoweri Museveni, former army chief Mugisha Muntu and FDC’s Patrick Amuriat, are bracing for nominations by the Electoral Commission (EC) next week.
The Embassy said, “As Secretary Pompeo recently stated, we are committed to supporting free, fair, inclusive elections. This includes ensuring the safety of all candidates, respect for the rule of law, and the impartiality of the authorities in charge of managing the elections.”
The U.S. Mission in Kampala has previously clashed with Uganda’s security chiefs over management of electoral processes.
While Washington claimed Uganda’s security forces were partisan and high-handed especially in dealing with opposition, Kampala maintained it had a right to keep law and order during elections.
In the run up to the elections, law enforcement bodies have cracked down on Bobi’s camp, accusing the singer-turned-politician of using red berets as political well knowing it’s a preserve of security forces.
But the U.S. government said it would “not hesitate to consider consequences for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process.”
“Delivering a free, fair, inclusive, and peaceful election is vital to Uganda’s democracy and international reputation as a strong and stable regional leader. We call on all political parties, candidates, and supporters to promote a peaceful and transparent electoral process. We support those working to achieve that goal,’ the U.S. Mission added.