Print

E-Mail Story

Comment

News Letter Sign up


How much do you want to pay to keep Uganda's president in power?


February 29, 2016

1 Image
If you don’t like how dirty the U.S. presidential election is getting, then you really won’t like the election in Uganda.

Social media blocked, an opposition candidate arrested, tear gas used on protesters, and allegations of ballot-stuffing, the Ugandan elections did not go smoothly and some say Americans helped pay for it.

Since the first day of voting, the main opposition candidate, Kizza Besigye, has been arrested several times. He was first briefly arrested in a suburb of Kampala where he had gone to investigate claims of ballot-stuffing, according to the New York Times. "If the election is free and fair we will be the first people to respect it, even if we are not the winner," Besigye said.

Social media apps, including Twitter and Facebook, were blocked by the government on election day, according to the BBC. President Yoweri Museveni, who is generally popular across the country, said the block was to stop people from telling lies. "Some people misuse those pathways. You know how they misuse them — telling lies.” The 71-year-old Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986 when he gained power through a coup and largely restored peace to the country.

Even though many Ugandans found ways around the social media blocks, Sarah Jackson of Amnesty International said in a statement that closing social media sites was "a blatant violation of Ugandans' fundamental rights to freedom of expression and to seek and receive information."

At one polling station, police fired tear gas at voters, the Voice of America reported. “Officers fired the tear gas after people approached police lines, complaining they were unable to vote and that ballot boxes had been removed from the polling station before the end of voting hours.”

Watching the election drama unfold is especially uncomfortable for the U.S., which provides hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Uganda as one of the West’s most important counterterrorism allies in the fight against al-Shabab and in hunting down the notorious warlord Joseph Kony, according to Foreign Policy magazine.

Additionally, the U.S. provides the Ugandan military with a wide variety of military hardware, including communications equipment, night-vision goggles and even small surveillance drones. Ugandan forces even travel in Humvees that first carried Americans around Afghanistan.

“The most obvious outcome of U.S. cooperation is the privatization of the Ugandan army. It has become a lot more a tool of Museveni,” Ken Opalo, an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, told Foreign Policy.

“The United States is effectively footing part of the bill for keeping the Ugandan president safe,” wrote Foreign Policy. “Although Uganda’s elite special forces — which get first pick of the training and equipment on offer from the U.S. — have deployed to Somalia, they have also been assigned to staff the presidential guard unit that protects Museveni around the clock.”

Print

E-Mail Story

News Letter Sign up

Bookmark and Share
« Previous Story | Next Story »
 

COMMENTS

http://www.connectstatesboro.com/ encourages readers to interact with one another. We will not edit your comments, but we reserve the right to delete any inappropriate responses. To report offensive or inappropriate comments, contact our editor. The comments below are from readers of http://www.connectstatesboro.com/ and do not necessarily represent the views of Publication or Morris Multimedia.

You must be logged in to post comments.  [LOGIN]



You must be logged in to post comments.  [LOGIN]