Ugandan army warns against poll violence

Kampala — The Ugandan army has warned people against resorting to violence after the east African country’s presidential elections on February 18, reports the Daily Monitor. “We want to send a message: If the results aren’t in your favour, you’ve no right to destabilise the country, because this country is bigger than individuals,” General Katumba Wamala, the Chief of Defence Forces, said during a ceremony commemorating 30 years since President Yoweri Museveni took office.

His warning was also meant for members of the ruling National Resistance Movement.

Wamala said the east African country had a long history of violence.

The warning was a response to recent reports that the presidential elections would be marred by violence.

Museveni, in power since 1986, was expected to face his stiffest opposition from Kizza Besigye, a three-time loser for the Forum for Democratic Change, and Amama Mbabazi, a former prime minister and ruling party stalwart now leading the Go-Forward party.

Meanwhile, the United States government has issued a security warning to US citizens living in Uganda or anyone intending on travelling to the east African nation ahead of the elections, a report says, reports the Daily Monitor.

The warning was issued through the passports and international travel website by the US authorities.

The statement read in part: “The State Department recommends US citizens maintain a high level of security awareness leading up to, during, and following the election period.

“US citizens should avoid political rallies, polling centers, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind as gatherings intended to be peaceful can become confrontational and turn violent.”

The statement said, while US citizens may not be targeted, they should still exercise caution and monitor the news for any updates.

This comes a few days after the US Department of State Bureau of Public Affairs spokesperson John Kirby, expressed concern over the intimidation and arrest of journalists which he said had created an atmosphere of fear.” – AFP


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