The Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa has said it is time for Ugandans to move on after the disputed January 14 presidential elections.
“Uganda successfully concluded the presidential and general parliamentary elections on January 14 and we welcome the resilience and determination of Ugandans around the country despite the challenges to have come out in large numbers to freely and peacefully express their democratic choice,”Kutesa told diplomats from several foreign missions as he briefed them about the concluded polls on Wednesday.
Following the January,14 polls in which the incumbent, Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner with 58.64% of the vote, National Unity Platform’s Robert Kyagulanyi who came second in the hotly contested polls disputed the results whose process he said was undermined by widespread illegalities.
Speaking to the diplomats, the Foreign Affairs Minister said several observers had declared the polls free and fair, adding that it is high time everyone moved on.
“Messages of congratulations have been received. The observers have referred to the election as peaceful, free and fair and the results reflecting the will of the majority of our people,” he said.
Kutesa told the diplomats that in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, government successfully ensured a favourable space for a free, fair , peaceful and inclusive process that allowed candidates to canvass support from the electorates.
Speaking about the heavy deployment of both the army and police prior, during and after the polls, the Foreign Affairs Minister noted that this was meant to ensure security of the citizens as they participated in the elections.
“From the beginning of the campaigns, candidates talked about plan b which was meant to commit violent acts and insurgency, circumventing the democratic path. To this day, they have continued to stoke fear and incite violence which is was a clear and present danger to the security and stability of the country and its citizens,” he said.
“Would any country that upholds democratic values tolerate a plan b? Uganda will certainly not accept this because we are committed to democracy.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister told the diplomats that it was upon this background that government deployed the army to protect the citizens’ right to security.
On the internet shut down, Kutesa noted the move was meant to stop the incitement of violence by some sections of the public for their own selfish interests.
He noted that the Ugandan government is committed to ensuring domestic tranquility, security and welfare of its citizens.
“Ugandans have spoken and the country must move on. As we go into the next chapter in our democratic journey, many lessons have been learnt and the government will continue to sensitize its people to appreciate and understand that in enjoying their rights, every person is under obligation to act in accordance with the law.”
The development comes on the backdrop of the US Embassy in Kampala that said that Uganda’s ‘democracy in the dark’ strategy has undermined the integrity of the country’s concluded electoral process.