By Kwame Ismail Nkurunziza
The Ugandan army on Monday denied the U.S ambassador to Uganda H.E Natalie Brown and other diplomats permission to visit the National Unity Platform (NUP) party president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine, who has been under house arrest since last Friday.
Ambassador Natalie’s being blocked from visiting Bobi Wine, who is detained together with his wife Barbra Kyagulanyi aka Barbie, was revealed in a statement issued by the U.S Mission to Uganda on twitter and other social media platforms.
The statement released by the U.S Mission in Uganda on Monday reads in part thus;
“U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Natalie E. Brown attempted to visit presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi at his residence on January 18, but was denied access by Ugandan security forces.
The United States regularly meets with actors across Uganda’s political spectrum as part of its diplomatic engagement.
The purpose of Ambassador Brown’s visit was to check on Mr. Kyagulanyi’s health and safety, given that he’s effectively been unable to leave his home, with security forces surrounding his residence.
Uganda’s election campaigns were marred by the harassment of opposition candidates, campaign staff, and supporters; suppression of the media and civil society organization activities; and a nationwide internet shutdown before, during, and after voting day.
These unlawful actions and the effective house arrest of a presidential candidate continue a worrying trend on the course of Uganda’s democracy.”
It continues that; “We call on the Ugandan government to respect their citizens’ human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press as provided for in Uganda’s own constitution and according to commitments Uganda has made to uphold international human rights standards.
Nobody should be unlawfully denied a means to communicate and the freedom to leave their home, should they choose to do so.”
However, although the government of Uganda is yet to respond to the U. S embassy, the impasse came hours after government mouthpiece Ofwono Opondo, who is also the Executive Director of the Uganda Media Council, had written a scathing news article about ambassador Natalie, published in Sunday Vision, titled ‘Ambassador Natalie, Don’t Cry For Ugandans, We Aren’t Lost’, in which he portrayed the African -American diplomat as someone who acts like an expert about Uganda’s domestic affairs yet she is new in the country.
Bobi Wine was put under house arrest by security forces on Thursday night a few hours after he had voted in the January 14th presidential elections.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa claimed victory of the election after he scored 5,300,831 votes (58%), while Bobi Wine garnered 3,119,965 votes (34.62%).
However, Bobi Wine has since rejected the elections results maintaining that the polls were rigged and marred with lots of irregularities, so he wants to drag both the Electoral Commission and President elect Yoweri Museveni to court to contest his presidency.
President Museveni is seeking his sixth term in office, having ascended to the highest office in Uganda in 1986 following a five-year bush war with the National Resistance Army (NRA), which later transformed into the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
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