A brief statement issued by the Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in Brussels does not comment on the outcome of the elections, just saying “The European Union takes note of the results of the presidential elections declared by the Electoral Commission in Uganda.”
The European Union welcomes the
non-violence presidential and parliamentary elections in Uganda last week, but
condemns the pre-election excesses by the security forces.
A brief statement issued by
the Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and
Security Policy in Brussels does not comment on the outcome of
the elections, just saying “The European Union takes note of the results of the
presidential elections declared by the Electoral Commission in Uganda.”
It says that while the EU
welcomes that no major violent incidents were reported on election day, it
regrets what it calls “the disproportionate role given to security forces
during the elections”, which it says brought forth violence in the
pre-electoral period, harassment of opposition leaders, suppression of civil
society actors and media, and the raiding of a domestic observers’ office.
On the election day, Thursday, police raided Hotel Africana in
Kampala where a group of civil society activists and election observers were collecting data from locations across the country. Police Spokesman
Fred Enanga said the group had established their own tally centre which is
against the rules.
“The persons who are in
control of this election are the electoral commission. You cannot know what
motive the people behind this parallel tally centre had. They could be having
ulterior motives which might incite violence in this country. The law only
allows the Electoral Commission to announce election results,” Enanga said.
The EU statement also
condemns the shutting down of the internet which disrupted social media.
“Access to social media was
disturbed, and a full internet blackout disrupted the freedom of expression,
freedom of information, and regular economic and social activities. In
particular, this severely hampered the work of journalists, observers, party
agents and others expected to report on the polling results and scrutinise them,”
The government directed the
Uganda Communications Commission to block social media sites particularly
Facebook after the company suspended dozens of accounts of pro-government bloggers. Hours later on the polling day,
however, there was a total internet blackout.
The EU statement calls on the
Government to respect the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful and
safe assembly, including the free movement of all political actors and their
government has also maintained heavy security personnel at the residences of some opposition
candidates, to allegedly prevent possible incitement of violence.
“The EU is gravely concerned
by the continued harassment of political actors and parts of civil society. In
line with its laws, international commitments and obligations, the government
must ensure that security services act with restraint, that any violations or
abuses are duly and impartially investigated, and that those responsible are
held to account,” it adds.
As the country continues with
the rest of the elections, the EU calls on calls on all parties to refrain from
any form of violence as well as from statements and actions that may incite
violence. The EU advises for election
challenges and complaints to be addressed in an independent and transparent
the manner through the available constitutional and legal remedies.