News / Africa

    Worries Over Violence Cloud Uganda Elections

    Uganda's President and the presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni of the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) waves to his supporters as he arrives at a campaign rally ahead of the February 18 presidential elections in Entebbe, Uganda Feb. 10, 2016.
    Uganda's President and the presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni of the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) waves to his supporters as he arrives at a campaign rally ahead of the February 18 presidential elections in Entebbe, Uganda Feb. 10, 2016.

    With only a week until national elections in Uganda, a number of human rights advocates are concerned about increasingly violent rhetoric coming from the nation's leaders.

    Ugandans were shocked last month when Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura was quoted by a local newspaper saying that if the opposition wanted war, they would give crime preventers — a youth force created to supplement the police — guns. Then, not long after, the secretary-general of the ruling NRM party, Kasule Lumumba, was heard on the radio telling citizens the state will "kill your children” should they protest election results.

    Threatening rhetoric

    Although both Kayihura and Lumumba say they were misquoted, many feel the official response to these statements has been inadequate.

    Supporters of Uganda's main opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party march through Gaba Road during a campaign rally in the capital Kampala Feb. 10, 2016, ahead of the Feb. 18 presidential election.
    Supporters of Uganda's main opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party march through Gaba Road during a campaign rally in the capital Kampala Feb. 10, 2016, ahead of the Feb. 18 presidential election.

    Patrick Tumwine, a program officer with the Human Rights Network — Uganda said such rhetoric has also been made by resident district commissioners, who are appointed by the president to oversee local communities.

    “If this is not stopped, if the Electoral Commission does not come out strongly to condemn and also stop different camps and different candidates stop making hate speech and statements, these are likely to cause violence...The Secretary General of the ruling party NRM making serious statements, saying they will kill and shoot people...and the voice is not only hers, most of the RDCs in different parts of the country have made same statements. And so that is a cause for worry, stated Tumwine. “The Jinja RDC for example gave the same statements, warned people they would shoot their children if they took to the streets. So it's a threat that they're trying to do. Is it a warning? Is it planned?”

    WATCH: New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.

    Talk of war

    The potential for violence, however, has been hotly contested by the police who say local media have misquoted and latched onto certain issues to inflate the problem.

    “We really meet every other day to evaluate how our deployment actually is. Are there any early warning signs? And we've managed to carry out very very peaceful political activities,” explained Fred Enanga, spokesperson with the Ugandan Police Force. “As we talk now we've policed over 900 presidential and parliamentary campaigns and out of those we've had less than 10 cases where violence was registered...those ones who have fallen off are using the politics of fear and trying to discourage certain sections of the voters, please don't go there is going to be violence, you need to stock sugar, don't come out of your homes Even on social media which is very damaging.”

    Yet controversial imaging in campaign ads, such as skulls, and talk of war have citizens on edge.

    Human Rights Watch has called on President Yoweri Museveni and other high ranking officials to unambiguously call for peace and reaffirm the right to freedom of assembly. So far, the nation's leaders have not commented on the issue.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora