The United States (US) Government on Friday (April 16, 2021) announced that it had imposed visa restrictions on a number of top Ugandan government officials and security heads.
The said officials are accused of undermining the democratic processes during the country’s January 14, general election and the campaign period that preceded it.
In a statement issued by the US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, noted that the Government of Uganda’s actions during the recent electoral process undermined democracy and respect for human rights.
“Today I am announcing visa restrictions on those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Uganda, including during the country’s January 14 general elections and the campaign period that preceded it,” Blinken said.
He also indicated that, “the Government of Uganda’s actions represent a continued downward trajectory for the country’s democracy and respect for human rights as recognized and protected by Uganda’s constitution.”
The November 18 and 19 protests after the arrest of National Unity Platform presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine saw over 50 people killed, other injured whereas hundreds were later arrested in the resultant crackdown on the masterminds of the deadly protest. .
There was also a crackdown especially by security forces and other government agencies on several civil society organisations and opposition players, mostly Kyagulanyi and his National Unity Platform supporters.
Following the January 14 polls, several NUP supporters have gone missing before government later admitted that these had been arrested by security organs.
However, according to the US government, security organs are largely to blame for these human rights violations, adding that something needs to be done to check their excesses.
“The government of Uganda must significantly improve its record and hold accountable those responsible for the flawed election conduct, violence and intimidation. The US government will continue to evaluate additional actions against individuals complicit in undermining democracy and human rights in Uganda as well as their immediate family members,” the US secretary of State said in the statement.
Whereas the US government announced restrictions, it didnt mention names of any officials to which the sanctions had been issued.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa, earlier this week told the UN Security council members that there were no abductions or kidnappings during and after the January 14 polls in Uganda.
“…anyone suspected of wrongdoing in Uganda will be arrested, investigated and subjected to due process of the law,” Kutesa told the UN.
The statement augmented President Museveni’s earlier comments in which he said the alleged missing persons were in the hands of security.