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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Wine calls for audit of Uganda’s presidential election

BY DAILY MONITOR

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Ugandan politician Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, has asked the European Union (EU) to cause an audit of the January 14 presidential election, which he says he won but was robbed of his victory by President Yoweri Museveni.

Wine, leader of the opposition’s National Unity Platform (NUP) party, met the request during a meeting with EU officials at his home at Magere in Kasangati, Wakiso District, on Saturday.

A source said Wine also asked the EU to ensure the government is held accountable for the violence against civilians during election campaigns.

It is not clear why Wine asked the EU to cause audit of the election yet he has filed a petition in court challenging the same election results.

A source, who attended the two-hour meeting but preferred anonymity, said Wine also asked the EU to ensure the government is held accountable for the violence against civilians during election campaigns.

“The EU called for the meeting last week. Its intention was to find out how to help Wine. He asked the EU to help and hold Museveni accountable for human rights violations and killings. He also asked the EU to push for an audit of the just-concluded elections,” the source said.

“Wine also wanted the EU to hold government officers accountable for the atrocities of November and other kinds of brutality meted out against him and other opposition politicians.”

The EU Head of Delegation in Uganda, Mr Attilio Pacifici, led eight other diplomats, including representatives from other EU countries such as Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy and Sweden.

The Wine team included the party’s deputy president for the North, Ms Lina Zedriga, deputy president for Central region Mathias Mpuuga, party Secretary-General David Lewis Rubongoya and party spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi.

The source said the EU team proposed talks with President Museveni but that Wine rejected it, “citing the double standards of his opponent”.

“Wine also wanted the EU to hold government officers accountable for the atrocities of November and other kinds of brutality meted out against him and other opposition politicians.”

The EU Head of Delegation in Uganda, Mr Attilio Pacifici, led eight other diplomats, including representatives from other EU countries such as Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Italy and Sweden.

The Wine team included the party’s deputy president for the North, Ms Lina Zedriga, deputy president for Central region Mathias Mpuuga, party Secretary-General David Lewis Rubongoya and party spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi.

The source said the EU team proposed talks with President Museveni but that Wine rejected it, “citing the double standards of his opponent”.

“The EU then promised to continue following up on the issues Bobi raised and return with a position,” the source added.

Daily Monitor could not readily establish whether there was a written commitment between Wine and the EU but the source said, “The EU responded by saying they are taking these matters seriously and looking at taking serious action.”

Shortly after the meeting, Mr Paciffici tweeted, “Together with EU colleagues, I met with [NUP leaders] today to exchange views and hear their concerns following the elections. We value and encourage dialogue with and between all political actors. I look forward to meetings also with other political parties in the near future.”

In his address to the media after the meeting, Mr Ssenyonyi said: “As friends to the people of Uganda, don’t pay a blind eye to these violations happening to Ugandans. We have not and we are not asking them to even support any political party. What we have asked them is to be on the side of the people of Uganda because Ugandans are the ones being killed, arrested and facing all these violations. So that was our general request to them.”

It is not clear why Wine asked the EU to cause audit of the election yet he has filed a petition in court challenging the same election results. The NUP leaders did not explain how the EU-sanctioned audit would run parallel to the petition in court.

Hours after elections on January 14, the musician-turned-politician was placed under house-arrest for more than 10 days. Many of his party leaders were denied access to his home including the American Ambassador to Uganda, Ms Natalie Brown.

Wine regained freedom after court on January 25 ordered the security to leave his home.

On January 16, the Electoral Commission declared incumbent President Museveni winner of the elections with 58 per cent against Wine’s 35 per cent.

He has rejected the EC results, claiming he won the election. He has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging Mr Museveni’s victory.

In the aftermath of the 2016 General Election, four-time presidential candidate of the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Dr Kizza Besigye, declined to go to court and instead demanded that an international body audits Uganda’s elections. The audit did not happen.

The State minister for Information, Communication Technology and National Guidance, Mr Peter Ogwang, said the audit would not change anything since the elections were transparent.

“So I don’t understand what he is asking about but in my opinion, we did vote using biometrics. I don’t have any problem with that thinking because at the end of the day, whatever was done, was done in a transparent manner,” Mr Ogwang told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview.

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