Friday, February 26, 2016

All For U

The voters took an action in direct democracy:

"Ugandan police arrest opposition candidate" Associated Press  February 16, 2016

KAMPALA, Uganda — Ugandan police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a crowd of opposition supporters and briefly arrested a leading opposition candidate on Monday, raising tensions ahead of elections widely seen as close.

Ambulances took away injured people after the police used force to break up supporters of presidential candidate Kizza Besigye near Uganda’s Makerere University in the capital.

Besigye defied orders to follow a less crowded route to the university, where he had planned to hold a rally, so police fired tear gas and shotguns to quell a crowd of his supporters, said police spokesman Fred Enanga.

“We are not going to arrest him. We are not going to detain him. We know this is what he wants. We will just tow his vehicle and drive him home,’’ Enanga said of Besigye.

But Besigye was arrested briefly Monday afternoon in Kampala, where he is holding his last rallies ahead of the elections on Thursday.

Recent opinion polls show President Yoweri Museveni in a tight race with Besigye, who is promising to run a more efficient government. Besigye is a former government official who broke ranks with Museveni 15 years ago, saying the president was no longer a democrat. He now openly describes Museveni as a dictator.

Ahead of elections, there has been a rise in the number of police deployed around Kampala, seen as an opposition stronghold. Museveni has threatened to ‘‘smash’’ those who threaten national security.

Critics and opposition activists are concerned the military will be used to intimidate opposition supporters during and after the elections.

Uganda has not had a peaceful transfer of power since the country’s independence from Britain in 1962. Museveni himself took power by force in 1986.

Besigye, 59, challenged Museveni in elections in 2001, 2006 and 2011. If he is reelected, Museveni, 71, would have to step down after his next term.


"Ugandan opposition candidate briefly arrested after voting" Associated Press  February 18, 2016

KAMPALA, Uganda — The main opposition candidate for president in Uganda was briefly arrested late Thursday, his aide said, as vote counting started in presidential and parliamentary polls marred by the late arrival of voting materials.

Kizza Besigye was arrested in the Kampala suburb of Naguru, where he had gone to investigate alleged ballot-stuffing in a house run by the intelligence agencies, said Shawn Mubiru, who is in charge of communications for Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change Party. The police did not respond to requests for comment.

Besigye is Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s main challenger in the polls, in which six other opposition candidates are also standing.

Besigye’s supporters said the delays were deliberate and were aimed at favoring Museveni, whose rival is popular in Kampala. The head of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, called the long delays ‘‘absolutely inexcusable.’’

Several dozen polling stations never opened on Thursday, and the election commission late Thursday said they would be open on Friday

The government also shut down access to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

In Kampala’s Ggaba neighborhood, hundreds of people waited for seven hours for one polling center to open before voting papers for the parliamentary election finally arrived. When the people found out there were no ballots to vote for president, they overpowered the police, grabbed the ballot boxes, and threw them all over a field. Police fired tear gas, and polling officers fled before any votes were cast.

‘‘If the election is free and fair we will be the first people to respect it, even if we are not the winner,’’ Besigye said Thursday at a polling station in his rural home of Rukungiri. ‘‘But where it is not a free and fair election then we must fight for free and fair elections because that is the essence of our citizenship.’’

That's a good point, and why I complain about the process here.


And the winnaaaaaaaah.....

"Long-time Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni was on Saturday declared the winner of the country's disputed presidential election, but his main rival rejected the results as fraudulent and called for an independent audit of the count. Museveni got more than 60 percent of the votes, and his nearest rival Kizza Besigye got 35 percent, according to final results announced by the election commission. Besigye was under house arrest as Museveni was declared the winner, with heavily armed police standing guard near his residence on the outskirts of the capital, Kampala. In a video obtained by The Associated Press, Besigye said he rejects the results."

"US calls for release of Uganda’s opposition leader" New York Times  February 21, 2016

KAMPALA, Uganda — The United States called for the release of Uganda’s opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, who has been under house arrest since Friday, before President Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a presidential election marred by widespread irregularities.

Museveni won last week’s vote with 60.75 percent of the vote, according to the electoral commission; Besigye had 35.37 percent.

“We call for his immediate release and the restoration of access to all social media sites,” the State Department said Saturday evening. “Delays in the delivery of voting materials, reports of pre-checked ballots and vote buying” and “excessive use of force by police” had undermined the vote, it said. “The Ugandan people deserved better.”

Besigye was arrested Friday after the police stormed his party’s headquarters. He was there tallying votes, which his party said included wins at polling sites in Uganda’s north, Kampala, and other areas of the country.

The election ran smoothly around the countryside, according to electoral observers, but not in Kampala, the capital city where opposition parties get much of their support. Voting there started up to seven hours late because the ballot papers were not available.

Besigye rejected the electoral commission’s results.

On Sunday, access to social-networking sites remained blocked. Equally critical, mobile-money services — the equivalent of using a debit card — also remained blocked.

Besigye and another candidate, Amama Mbabazi, the second-most popular challenger and until recently the prime minister, remained under effective house arrest.

The head of the Ugandan military, General Katumba Wamala, was also said to be under state scrutiny, after results showed Museveni had not performed well at polls at army barracks. A Uganda army spokesman said soldiers are “free to choose anyone they want.”

“Democracy is on trial,” Besigye said on Twitter, through a virtual private network.


Looks like a house cleaning:

"Uganda’s opposition leader arrested trying to leave his home" by Rodney Muhumuza Associated Press  February 23, 2016

KAMPALA, Uganda — Tensions after Uganda’s elections, criticized by international observers as being undemocratic, ratcheted up on Monday when police arrested President Yoweri Museveni’s main challenger.

Kizza Besigye was arrested as he tried to leave his home where he had been confined under house arrest. Police pushed him into the back of a blacked-out van and took him to a police station in a rural area outside the capital.

Besigye had been seeking to visit the election commission to get detailed copies of results from the presidential election. He has called for an independent audit that includes the international community.

Uchenna Emelonye of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights visited Besigye in the police station and told reporters that Besigye ‘‘has not been informed, formally or informally, why he is being detained.’’

Polly Namaye, a police spokeswoman, said officers arrested Besigye to keep him from ‘‘storming the electoral commission with his supporters.’’

Neutral observers have criticized the government for using security forces against opposition candidates and supporters.

The commission announced Saturday that Museveni won the vote with more than 60 percent of counted ballots, while Besigye got 35 percent.

Those results did not include tallies from at least 1,242 polling stations, election commission spokesman Jotham Taremwa told AP on Monday. That’s about 4 percent of all polling stations.

Taremwa said the missing results cannot change the outcome, but Besigye’s supporters note they could bring down Museveni’s margin of victory. Museveni needed 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff election.

The election commission lacks independence and transparency, the European Union observer mission said.

The 71-year-old Museveni seized power in 1986. He is a key US ally on security matters, especially in Somalia.

I am going to save Somalia for some other time.

Besigye was Museveni’s personal physician during the 1981 to 1986 bush war between Museveni’s rebels and forces loyal to former President Milton Obote. He also served as deputy interior minister in his first Cabinet, and broke with the president in 1999, saying he was no longer a democrat....


Looks to me like Museveni has fallen out of favor with the U.S.

A little closer to home

Uganda gay rights fight plays out in Springfield court

He was my guy for governor last time (different issue, though).