Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president, Dr. Kizza Besigye, has refuted reports that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces(UPDF) is providing him security in Somaliland where he went to observe elections.
Besigye made the remarks shortly after landing in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa as part of the Somaliland Election Monitoring Mission (SEMM) team, to monitor the parliamentary and local government elections.
“UPDF has never set foot in Somaliland! This is one of the most peaceful and democratic areas in the Horn of Africa,”Besigye noted.
Besigye was responding to the claim by some people on social media that the force is giving him protection in Somaliland, something he said it’s not true.
Somaliland, which has operated as an independent republic since declaration of independence from war torn Somalia in 1991, has held regular and fairly democratic elections.
But the Somaliland government has never been formally recognised as a state despite a record of peace, stability and democracy. It also maintains relations with other governments.
Officially, Somaliland is a self-declared sovereign state in the Horn of Africa. Internationally, it is still considered to be part of Somalia.
Besigye’s personal assistant, Ronald Muhinda, noted that the monitoring mission was organised by the Brenthurst Foundation which is led by former former deputy chair of African Union Commission, Erastus Mwencha and former Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma.
“Election observers, if they perform their role well, provide valuable oversight role that builds public confidence and trust in election exercise,” Muhinda said.
He stated that they also help improve the quality of elections especially in fragile democracies.