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Police rule out protests in Friday's elections in Uganda.

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Askari Kanzu, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Askari Kanzu

    Askari Kanzu JF-Expert Member

    Feb 17, 2011
    Joined: Jan 7, 2011
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    UGANDA-PRE ELECTION MOOD @ Feb 17 15:05 (26 mins ago)

    As the final touches are put in place before Uganda's presidential and parliamentary election on Friday (February 18) police and the electoral commission have said they will come down hard on any violence or protests that occur as people go to the polls.

    Speaking at a packed press conference Kale Kayihura, Uganda's Police Inspector General said any sign of civil unrest would be dealt with severely.

    "We shall not hesitate to arrest any individual or groups of individuals who attempt to interfere with elections or who will attempt to cause disorder at the polling station. I want to reassure you that our security has been put in place, security arrangements for the polling stations," he said.

    President Yoweri Museveni is expected to win a fourth term in office in the election despite a fierce challenge from third-time rival and former ally Kizza Besigye.

    The threat of violence in Friday's poll has come largely from 54-year-old Besigye who raised the stakes in the election battle in this coffee-growing country of 32 million people by saying that if the opposition loses, it will be because of rigging. Besigye has also warned of Egyptian-inspired protests if the poll is unfair. He plans to release his own tally of results - despite Museveni's threat to arrest him if he does.

    By Ugandan standards, this has been a largely calm campaign, but the electoral commission said the government was not taking any chances.

    Also speaking at the press conference, Badru Kigundu, Chairman of the Electoral Commission said they have identified 21 external organisations to help them ensure the vote is carried out without disruption from trouble makers.

    "In this country we have defined more than 21 stakeholders and we have elaborated, all along in our voter education so we call all those stakeholders to play their rightful role," Kigundu said.

    Museveni is respected for his shepherding of the economy, for stabilising a once chaotic country and for intervening in regional hotspots such as Somalia.

    But support has fallen at home over the last decade and relations with the West have frayed over moves, including scrapping terms limits for presidents, that critics say signal the 67-year-old wants to be president-for-life.
    On the street the mood among voters has been mixed.

    "Museveni has support because of the peace he has brought, the roads he has constructed, people are able to do their jobs and make their money, we are in peace, the town looks very neat," said an unidentified Kampala resident.

    For some however, the sight of military trucks and soldiers already on the streets has dampened the mood.

    "There are so many soldiers they have deployed heavily in the streets. People who support the big man go around saying even if you don't vote for him he will win. What does that mean? That's mean there is no free and fair elections," said another Kampala resident Innocent Luswata.

    Citing polls carried out by his ruling National Resistance Movement, Museveni said his rival's challenge did not worry him.

    Meanwhile the talk of violence has weakened Uganda's currency and Uganda's investment authority said business decisions were being delayed because of the poll.