US embassy warns of dire consequences to perpetrators of violence in 2021 polls

2021 Elections Watch

The United States embassy in Kampala has warned of dire consequences to individuals and organisations instigating violence among the population before, during and after the forthcoming 2021 general elections.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the US embassy said whereas they are committed to a free and fair election, they would not hesitate to take action against anyone involved in acts of violence during the forthcoming period.

“The United States, along with other democratic countries, will pay close attention to actions of individuals and organizations who interfere in the democratic process or instigate violence against the civilian population before, during, or after the elections.  We will not hesitate to consider consequences for those found to be responsible for election-related violence or undermining the democratic process,” the statement read in part.

In January next year, Uganda will go into polls to elect the president, Members of Parliament and other local government representative.

However, just like it has been in the previous elections that the country has held, tensions are high but according to the US mission in Kampala, it is the duty of every citizen to ensure a free and fair process.

“Delivering a free, fair, inclusive, and peaceful election is vital to Uganda’s democracy and international reputation as a strong and stable regional leader.  We call on all political parties, candidates, and supporters to promote a peaceful and transparent electoral process. We support those working to achieve that goal.”

The US embassy has on several occasions been very vocal on issues of human rights and democracy in Uganda.

Their voices have always gone up towards, during and immediately after elections or a major political activity in the country.

On the other side, government has on several occasions accused the US mission in Kampala of interfering in local politics after being viewed as being pro-opposition by indirectly supporting some candidates.

However, in the latest statement, the US embassy distanced itself from supporting any candidate, noting that their main objective is ensuring Uganda strengthens its democratic institutions, ensure freedom of expression, and promote an open political environment.

“The United States government reaffirms unequivocally that it does not support any specific candidate or party in Uganda’s upcoming elections.  The United States supports the democratic process itself.  As Secretary Pompeo recently stated, we are committed to supporting free, fair, inclusive elections. This includes ensuring the safety of all candidates, respect for the rule of law, and the impartiality of the authorities in charge of managing the elections,” they said in the statement.

“The goal of U.S. assistance is to build a future in which every Ugandan has an opportunity to achieve their full potential and a voice in how their country is governed.

Uganda’s upcoming elections have important significance for the country’s democratic development and give expression to the will of the people.”

The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen.David Muhoozi recently is only criminal for anyone to plot against the country by instigating any form of violence.

“It is incumbent on all of us to agree on a minimum of what binds us together inspite of our differences. Plotting against one's country is criminal. The freedom to exercise one's right to participate in elections is matched by the obligation not to breach the law. Once you cross the line, the law will catch up with you. Elections come and go but this shared space called Uganda should remain peaceful and this calls for a collective efforts,” Gen.Muhoozi said earlier this month while appearing on UBC TV.

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