US sanctions Ugandan gov’t officials over election violence

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The US government has announced sanctions against some Ugandan officials over human rights violations orchestrated during and after the 2021 elections.

In a statement released on Friday, the US government secretary of State, Antony John Blinken said there has been an increased downward trajectory for the country’s democratic credentials, adding that this was experienced in the 2021 polls.

“Today I am announcing visa restrictions on those believed to be responsible for or complicit in undermining the democratic processes in Uganda, including the country’s January,14 general election and the campaign period that preceded it,” the statement by Blinken said.

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.

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