U.S. Deplores Uganda Election Violence; Concerned Over "Disappearance" Of Aine, Challenger's Aide

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Chris Aine's sister said this photo is of her dead brother

[Uganda: Elections 2016]


The U.S. is "concerned" by the violence by security forces that's marred the on-going Ugandan presidential election campaigning and the still undetermined fate of Christopher Aine, a top aide to a challenger, Amama Mbabazi.

The State Department says the violence raises questions about the fairness of the the elections.

"The United States is concerned that the electoral environment in Uganda is deteriorating in the run-up to national polls next month," says State Department Spokesperson, John Kirby, in a statement last night.  "Numerous reports of the police using excessive force, obstruction and dispersal of opposition rallies, and intimidation and arrest of journalists have contributed to an electoral climate of fear and intimidation, and raise questions about the fairness of the process."

Kirby adds, "We also underscore the need for all candidates and their campaigns to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric that could incite violence.  We note with particular concern the reports that Christopher Aine, an opposition campaign aide, has disappeared. Free and fair elections depend on all Ugandans being able to exercise their right to assemble peacefully, express their opinions, and participate in the electoral process free from intimidation and abuse. They also depend on government institutions and security forces remaining neutral, defending the rights of all people and protecting all parties equally.  We call on the government, civil society, and political parties to do their part to ensure a peaceful, transparent and credible electoral process."

Last week a Ugandan tabloid published a photograph that Aine's sister said showed the corpse of her brother.

Separately during the Friday Presidential candidates' debate Mbabazi demanded that the government of Gen. Yoweri Museveni produce his aide or his body. Mbabazi has said Aine was arrested on orders from Gen. Museveni. After a clash between his supporters and Mbabazi's, Gen. Museveni vowed "severe" retribution and that he would "smash" them. In the bizarre news conference he equated the actions by Mbabazi's supporters to someone sticking a finger into "the anus of a leopard," apparently referring to himself.

Dr. Kizza Besigye, the other major candidate also participated in the debate. Seven others also took part in the televised debate. Gen. Museveni was a no-showinviting ridicule by many Ugandans on social media commentaries. He had recently said he had nothing to fear and would debate his opponents.

Separately, Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists have condemned attacks by Ugandan security forces on reporters covering the elections.

Separately, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for the suspension of the militia armies known as "Crime Preventers" created by Gen. Museveni and police chief Gen. Kale Kayihura.

 

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