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US Embassy Cautions Against Violence Ahead of 2021 Polls :: Uganda Radionetwork
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US Embassy Cautions Against Violence Ahead of 2021 Polls

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“We will watch closely the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process and will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those responsible for election-related violence,” Secretary Pompeo said.
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The United States Embassy in Kampala has cautioned individuals and organizations against instigating violence against the civilian population before, during, and after 2021 general elections. The embassy said that it will not hesitate to consider consequences for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process. 

Uganda will go to the polls in January 2021, to elect a president, Members of Parliament and local council leaders, a process to be preceded by the first-ever virtual campaign for the country. However, questions have already been raised over restrictions on the Freedom of Assembly, expression and association, especially among opposition groups.

In recent weeks, the National Unity Platform, a new political outfit, headed by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has been involved in running battles with security forces, mainly for holding ‘illegal assemblies, and the use red berets which, according to the government are a preserve of the armed forces. Kyagulanyi is one of the aspirants intending to challenge President Yoweri Museveni in the presidential race.   

While emphasizing that the United States government does not support any specific candidate or party in the upcoming elections, the Embassy stated that it is 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.    

“Delivering a free, fair, an inclusive and peaceful election is vital to Uganda’s democracy and international reputation as a strong and stable regional leader,” the Embassy said in a statement issued this afternoon. The Embassy called on all political parties, candidates, and supporters to promote a peaceful and transparent electoral process.  

A week ago US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo issued a similar warning targeting all countries across the continent. He said that the conduct of elections is important not only for Africans, but also for defenders of democracy around the world and added that repression and intimidation have no place in democracies. 

“We will watch closely the actions of individuals who interfere in the democratic process and will not hesitate to consider consequences – including visa restrictions – for those responsible for election-related violence,” Secretary Pompeo said.   

The Embassy says that the United States will work with Uganda to strengthen democratic institutions, ensure freedom of expression, and promote an open political environment.  Annually, the United States government invests USD 1 billion in Ugandan communities to promote economic growth and employability, improve health and education, uphold democratic values, and strengthen security. 

The statement indicates that the goal of U.S. assistance is to build a future in which every Ugandan has an opportunity to achieve their full potential and a voice in how their country is governed.

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