The European Union (EU) has urged the Government of Uganda to respect the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful and safe assembly for all political actors and their supporters.
The clarion call comes at a time when the main opposition presidential candidate Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert aka Bobi Wine is confined at his home in Magere, Kampala Suburb after he declined to accept election results.
EU appreciated that there were no major violent incidents reported on the polling day and regretted the disproportionate role given to security forces during the elections noting that they further brought 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.
“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,” EU noted in a statement.
“Access to social media was disturbed, and a full internet blackout disrupted 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.”
Pending the final results of the electoral process including the parliamentary and local elections, the EU called on all parties to refrain from any form of violence as well as from statements and actions that may incite violence, and for election challenges and complaints to be addressed in an independent and transparent manner through the available constitutional and legal remedies.