News / Africa

    Former Uganda PM Says House is Under Siege After Vote

    FILE - Uganda's former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, now a presidential candidate, speaks to the media at a gathering in Jinja town in eastern Uganda, Sept. 10, 2015. Mbabazi has accused the electoral commission of being one-sided and partisan.
    FILE - Uganda's former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, now a presidential candidate, speaks to the media at a gathering in Jinja town in eastern Uganda, Sept. 10, 2015. Mbabazi has accused the electoral commission of being one-sided and partisan.
    James Butty

    Former Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who was an independent presidential candidate for the Go Forward team, said his home has been under siege by Ugandan military police and regular police in the days following last Thursday’s election in which incumbent President Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner with 61 percent of the vote.

    He said police arrested people coming to his house, including his cook who he said disappeared for two days. Mbabazi said the government has yet to inform him directly, but the prime minister of Uganda has told the local media that Mbabazi’s movement has been restricted.

    Mbabazi would be the second unsuccessful candidate in last week's Ugandan election to be restricted to his house by the government of Uganda.

    Dr. Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change party said he is also under house arrest.

    Mbabazi condemned the government’s use of the state machinery to deprive candidates in the election of their freedom of movement.  Mbabazi said the election was fundamentally flawed and the announced results not a reflection of the will of the Ugandan people. 

    An electoral worker delivers boxes to a district counting center in Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.
    An electoral worker delivers boxes to a district counting center in Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.

    “I did publish a statement to the effect that all along, from the time I entered the campaign the ground has not been leveled because of course, as you know, the state used all possible state organs to harass me personally. They arrested me; they arrested my paper; they denied me the opportunity to use the airwaves belonging to the state,” he said.

    Mbabazi accused the electoral commission of being one-sided and partisan, “clearly working in favor of the incumbent” and he said the declaration of results was in many ways fraudulent.

    He said his team will determine its course of action once it has completed gathering more information about what exactly happened on Election Day.

    Mbabazi said among the options his team is considering is going to court to challenge the results, as well as applying political pressure.

    Besigye, of the Forum for Democratic Change party, says he thinks he is under house arrest to prevent him from announcing his vote tally in the election.  The government of Uganda announced that Besigye won 35 percent of the vote last Thursday to Museveni's 61 percent.

    Ugandan police block the media and others from accessing opposition candidate Kizza Besigye, as he remains under house arrest at his home in Kasangati, outside Kampala, in Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.
    Ugandan police block the media and others from accessing opposition candidate Kizza Besigye, as he remains under house arrest at his home in Kasangati, outside Kampala, in Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.

    “Nobody is allowed to access my home. I am also under some kind of electronic blockade. I am unable to access any form of Internet service in my house. Generally, the regime is baring its bloodied fangs and claws for all to see. This has not been an electoral process. This is a creeping military coup," Besigye told the Daily Monitor of Uganda on Monday.

    Police in Uganda say Besigye is under preventive arrest to stop him from leading protests against Museveni's win that could turn violent. 

    The European Union's observer mission has criticized the domination of the political landscape in Uganda by the ruling NRM party and, in a statement,  accused the government of "creating an intimidating atmosphere."

    The U.S. Embassy in Uganda has also weighed in on Besigye's situation.

    “We are concerned by the continued house arrest of opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye. We call for his immediate release and the restoration of access to all social media sites,” said spokesperson Christopher J. Brown in a statement.

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