Monday, February 29, 2016

Uganda:Elections were not credible - Botswana

The re-election of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for another term as president of Uganda has continued to elicit mixed reactions the world over, with the latest being refusal by an African country to recognize him as the duly elected leader of the East African nation.

Botswana is the only African country that has so far refused to accept Museveni’s re-election, saying it is going by the report by international observers like the European Union and the Commonwealth.

In a statement by Botswana Ministry of Foreign affairs and International Cooperation, the South African nation says that it has taken note of the reports of international observer groups on the recent general election, and therefore does not believe that Museveni was genuinely elected as president.

“The Government of Botswana has observed that based on the findings of some international observers, the elections were characterised by, amongst others; lack of transparency, reported incidents of intimidation and harassment, social media restrictions, as well as continuous arrests and detention of a prominent leader of the opposition,” the statement said.

Botswana further said that it is appalling that the elections were conducted amid sabotage of democratic rights and freedoms, and is concerned that the outcome is not true and authentic.

“Government of Botswana remains deeply concerned that such conduct during an election would have deeply undermined the norms of best practice governing democratic elections, as well as, the continent’s efforts towards consolidation of democracy,” the statement read further.

During the election, Uganda police closed down social media platforms, arrested key opposition leader Kizza Besigye and cracked down on the opposition for protesting the manner in which the election was being conducted.

There were also claims of massive rigging and closing down of polling stations in opposition strongholds to sabotage Besigye’s possible win.

Museveni was eventually declared winner by the Ugandan electoral commission, garnering over 60% of the total votes cast. Besigye had 35.4% of the votes.

A number of African leaders have since congratulated Museveni. Among the countries include Kenya, Burundi, South Africa and Rwanda. Russia has also congratulated the old man.

President Uhuru Kenyatta found himself in the centre of a storm after congratulating Museveni. Angry Kenyans took to social media to disown his congratulatory message, saying he only did it as an individual and not on behalf of Kenyans.

Museveni has been in power since 1986 when he took over through a rebellion. He has also said that he does not subscribe to term limits, indicating he is likely to remain in power as long as he lives.


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