Otunnu, Uganda Presidential Candidate in "Suspicious" Accident

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[Elections: Uganda 2011]

Source Describes Second Attempted Assassination

Olara Otunnu, the president of Uganda People's Congress (UPC) and candidate in the East African country's presidential election this coming Friday was involved in a "suspicious" automobile incident today, The Black Star News has learned.

Otunnu has been hospitalized but details of his condition were not available. A female passenger traveling with the presidential candidate suffered a broken collar bone. A person familiar with the matter described the incident as another attempt on Otunnu's life.

Details of the incident were not yet available.

On December 21, 2009, Otunnu, a former United Nations Under Secretary, said he was the victim of an assassination attempt by the Gen. Yoweri Museveni regime when vehicles of the notorious Presidential Guard Brigade (PGB) which is commanded by Museveni's son, deliberately veered in front of his car on a highway in Ugandan and forced his vehicle off the road. Otunnu escaped serious injury. At the time U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy asked that the alleged assassination attempt be investigated.

At the time, the Uganda authorities denied it was behind any attempt to kill Otunnu. During a visit to New York City last September, Uganda's minister for foreign affairs/international relations Oryem Henry Okello told The Black Star:
"The Ugandan government does not assassinate political opponents. If the government wanted to kill Otunnu why wouldn't the government just shoot him?"

Uganda is a major recipient of U.S. foreign and military assistance primarily because it's the only African country which has provided troops to prop the U.S.-installed government in Somalia. In cables leaked through WikiLeaks the U.S. ambassador described Gen. Museveni as an "autocrat" who was not in touch with changes in the country and also wrote of corruption by his senior officials.

Days after Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was driven from office, Otunnu had this week called on Ugandans to "take back" their country. Otunnu, together with leaders of the other major opposition parties, the Forum For Democratic Change (FDC) headed by Dr. Kizza Besigye and the Democratic Party (DP) under Norbert Mao recently met with the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnny Carson during his visit to Uganda. The opposition leaders warned Carson that the elections would not be free and fair.

In December 2009, the U.S. Congress had directed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to monitor the Uganda elections and to issue periodic reports. Clinton's reports have been critical of the Museveni government's failure to level the playing field and was especially harsh in the Election Commission which was hand picked by Museveni.

In the leaked cables, the U.S. ambassador, Jerry Lanier, also warned of potential violent conflict if the Feb. 18 elections were not free and fair.

[News Update]

Observers say Otunnu was miraculously almost unscathed after today's incident and after medical examination has resumed his campaign by heading to Lamwo in Acholi, as an act of defiance.

Three members of Otunnu's team who were in the car suffered "serious injuries" and were transferred to Kampala International Hospital, a person familiar with the matter told The Black Star News. Details are still sketchy but one person says the incident was caused when another automobile swung in front of Otunnu's, causing the candidate's vehicle to "roll over several times." U.S. officials in Kampala briefed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has been directed by Congress to monitor the Uganda elections, about the incident.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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