- February 18, 2011
- Resolve Roundup
Today millions of Ugandans are heading to the polls to vote in the countrys second multiparty national elections in thirty years. News of these elections has been overshadowed by popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, but opposition supporters in Uganda have also been calling for their long-time, autocratic ruler (President Yoweri Museveni ) to release his grip on power. However, preparations for the elections have been marred by restrictions on media freedoms and harassment of opposition political parties by the Ugandan government and security forces. This week even saw President Museveni issue a stern warning to people who might protest the outcome of the disputed polls as he threatened to “bundle [protesters] into jails and let that be the end of the story.”
Check out the Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest independent newspaper for live updates on the polling.
The Good: Ugandans headed to the polls today to elect their president, members of parliament and local government representatives.
The Bad: A campaign of intimidation and harassment by the Ugandan government against opposition parties has tilted the playing field heavily in favor of candidates from President Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
The Ugly: Senior US and international leaders, though vocal about the need for free and fair elections in Uganda, have been unable to convince the Ugandan government to halt its intimidation and harassment of opposition supporters.
- LRA attacks continue to destabilize the Western Equatoria region of South Sudan as one person was killed and multiple were injured near the villages of Source Yubu and Makpandu.
- The Episcopal Church of Sudan decried LRA violence in a statement on the recent referendum. Independently, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussula of Western Equaoria wrote an open letter saying that the LRA poses a very serious threat to the South Sudan’s security as it gains independence and calling for greater international action to stop senior LRA commanders.
- There has been a resurgence of insecurity in northern Congo due to increased LRA activity. LRA rebels attacking around the town of Faradje have abducted four children and killed one young girl, and also forced several humanitarian groups to temporarily evacuate their staff.
- The BBC’s Mike Thomson recently traveled to northern Congo, where he reports on ongoing LRA attacks there as well as brewing disagreements between the Congolese and Ugandan armies about how to address the rebel group. Check out an audio slide show from his trip here.
- The Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) released a report cataloging recent LRA activity in South Sudan, Congo, and the Central Africa Republic.
- The Ugandan government ordered phone companies to block text messages with words or phrases including “Egypt,” “dictator,” “army,” and “teargas.”
- Ugandan security officials intimidated, arrested and detained at least 16 anti-corruption advocates who distributed a joint civil society statement claiming the Ugandan government bribed members of parliament, according to Human Rights Watch.
- A spokesman for the European Union has said that Uganda has ignored most its recomendations to move the country in a more democratic and free direction.
- Resolve called on Secretary Clinton to ask President Museveni to commit to a “zero tolerance” policy on vote rigging and intimidation and respect the results of the election should another candidate be announced the winner.
- At a recent Twitter Town Hall meeting, Ambassador Rice condemned LRA violence and said that the US government was committed to implementing its LRA strategy “robustly.”