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Tension as Military blocks U.S. ambassador to Uganda Natalie Brown from accessing Bobi Wine

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KAMPALA — U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Natalie E. Brown has been blocked by Police and Military as she attempted to visit presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi at his residence on January 18.

The United States regularly meets with actors across Uganda’s political spectrum as part of its diplomatic engagement.

The Embassy in a statement said Ambassador Brown sought 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,” the statement further indicated

Ambassador Brown has since called 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”.

Both the U.S. and Britain expressed concern over the validity of the election results, noting the internet blackout throughout Uganda since before the election day.

Wine said Sunday that his polling agents have video evidence of voting fraud, but cannot make them public because of the internet blackout, the Associated Press reported.

“We urge authorities to address such irregularities and restore communications,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus tweeted Saturday.

We applaud Ugandans who exercised their right to vote in the January 14 elections, yet remain concerned by reports of election irregularities and politically motivated arrests. We urge authorities to address such irregularities and restore communications. https://t.co/HI0qd8A9q3

— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) January 16, 2021

On Sunday, Jake Sullivan, whom U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen to be his national security adviser, tweeted:
“The news from Uganda is deeply concerning. Bobi Wine, other political figures, and their supporters should not be harmed, and those who perpetrate political violence must be held accountable. After this flawed election, the world is watching.”

Bobi Wine’s party also said Sunday that the opposition candidate and his wife are unable to leave their home, with soldiers surrounding the entrance and barring his colleagues and journalists from entering.

“Everyone including media and my party officials are restricted from accessing me,” Wine tweeted Sunday.

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