MDC Alliance (MDC-A) Secretary for International Relations Gladys Kudzaishe Hlatywayo has issued the statement below on the just-ended elections in Uganda.
STATEMENT ON THE JUST ENDED UGANDAN ELECTIONS
The Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC A) is deeply concerned by the just-ended fundamentally flawed elections in Uganda.
The elections were marred by human rights abuses and fell short of regional and international standards governing democratic elections including the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
We urge the international community to hold President Yoweri Museveni’s government to account and not to lower the bar for free, fair and democratic elections as doing so encourages dictators across the African continent.
Despite criticising African leaders who subverted democratic processes to remain in power during his early days, President Yoweri Museveni manipulated the country’s Constitution to remove the presidential age limit in order to extend his stay in power as one of Africa’s longest-serving authoritarian leaders.
In the run-up to the January 2021 elections, 54 citizens were killed and dozens of others were arrested following riots that were triggered by the arrest of Presidential Candidate Bobi Wine for allegedly violating Covid 19 regulations whilst internet was shutdown.
Arrests of independent monitors, denial of accreditation to international observer missions and the current house arrest of President Bobi Wine have also seriously and negatively affected the credibility of the elections.
Contrary to the impetus that propelled the struggle for liberation across Africa including the principle of one man one vote’, we have observed a rise in electoral authoritarianism or elections without democracy in countries such as Uganda, Zimbabwe and Tanzania where elections have become rituals for authoritarian consolidation.
In these countries, elections have been punctuated by the weaponization of the law, abuse of state resources and institutions, violence, intimidation, and outright rigging among a menu of electoral manipulation.
We implore the African Union and the international community to unreservedly hold to account countries that do not respect democratic principles and human rights in line with international norms and practises as not doing promotes undemocratic elections and authoritarianism.