News / Africa

    Uganda Boycott Call Mostly Ignored Despite Anger Over Vote Rigging

    A Ugandan riot policeman blocks the gate of the party headquarters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, shortly after raiding the premises for the second time in a week, in the capital Kampala, Feb. 22, 2016.
    A Ugandan riot policeman blocks the gate of the party headquarters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, shortly after raiding the premises for the second time in a week, in the capital Kampala, Feb. 22, 2016.
    Reuters

    A call for an economic boycott by Uganda's opposition to protest last month's re-election of long-serving President Yoweri Museveni was mostly ignored on Thursday, despite widespread anger over allegations of vote rigging.

    The protest's flop was widely expected in a country where grinding poverty is pervasive, though it also underscored the tough choices facing Museveni's opponents as they seek to thwart an election victory they say was secured fraudulently.

    "Museveni is my worst enemy," Herbert Tumusiime, a porter at a construction site in Kampala told Reuters. "I am ready to help whoever is fighting him. But if I don't turn up for work even one day, I will be fired."

    Uganda's electoral commission declared Museveni — in power since 1986 - the winner of the Feb. 18 poll after taking 60 percent of the votes.

    The integrity of the election, however, was heavily criticized by monitors from the European Union (EU) who pointed to an "intimidating atmosphere" orchestrated by state actors.

    They cited other irregularities including voter bribery and delayed voting and also criticized the electoral body which they said lacked transparency and independence.

    Early this week Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) the party of Museveni's main opposition rival, Kizza Besigye, asked its supporters to stay at home every Thursday to undermine Museveni's government.

    Besigye came second with 35 percent of the vote but he rejected the results and described the election as a sham. He has been under virtual house arrest since polling day and has been detained each time he has attempted to leave.

    "We're calling on Ugandans to stay home every Thursday," FDC spokesperson Semujju Nganda said. "It's to show solidarity with our leader but also non-cooperation and boycott of the regime."

    In Kampala, there was little sign of a positive response to that entreaty, with most businesses running normally.

    Heavy security deployments have also been maintained in parts of Kampala since election day.

    Protests in Uganda are rarely permitted, most of them dispersed with teargas, gunfire, beatings and arrests.

    Gerald Karuhanga, an independent legislator and Museveni critic told Reuters a stay-at-home economic boycott was an inappropriate and ineffective protest tool in a country where most youths already are unemployed and stay home.

    "People live on the edge. An economic boycott? They have no economic means to boycott with," he said.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora