As the country goes to the polls, the Delegation of the European Union Commission in Uganda has called for a credible, inclusive and transparent 2021 General Election to allow all Ugandans to exercise their democratic rights without fear of intimidation or violence.
The statement by Mr Joseph Borrel, the European Union (EU) High Representative on the upcoming General Election reads: “The excessive use of force by law enforcement and security agencies has seriously tarnished this electoral process. At this crucial time the EU expects transparent, inclusive and credible elections,” reads the statement in part.
Mr Borrel said the EU and other partners have noted a pre-electoral cycle that has been stained by violence towards Opposition presidential candidates, civil society organisations, journalists, among others.
During the campaign trail, police and other security forces, unleashed violence on journalists covering Opposition presidential candidates Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, of National Unity Platform (NUP) party and Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party.
However, when journalists demanded an apology, the Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth-Ochola recently refuted reports that police are targeting journalists, arguing that security personnel have been using reasonable force to restrain the press for their own safety.
EU has called for support of the work of journalists, civil society organisations, human rights defenders to ensure accountability and transparency.
The country goes to polls on Thursday to elect the President and Members of Parliament. EC has promised a credible election even as the Opposition reject some EC guidelines.
The public has also complained about intimidation and violence that have marred the campaigns and government has since beefed up security.
Meanwhile, Mr Joseph Borrel, the European Union (EU) High Representative on the upcoming General Election, said the European Union (EU) observers will not be deployed across the country to observe the elections.
“The EU’s offer to deploy a small team of electoral experts was not taken up. The role of local observers will be even more important than before,” Mr Borrell said.