The Ugandan government has slammed United States for refusing to participate in the observation of the January 14 general elections, saying, the exercise is primarily for Uganda not foreigners.
“…But above all, we don’t conduct this election for Americans or outsiders. We conduct this election primarily for Ugandans,” said government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo.
“That is our first audience. Foreigners, well and good. It is okay when they give you a sense of credibility and legitimacy. This election will be free, fair and credible. It will reflect the will of majority of Ugandans at presidential, Parliamentary and Local (Government),” he added.
United States cancelled its diplomatic observation of Uganda’s January 14 elections “due to the decision by the Electoral Commission of Uganda to deny more than 75 percent of the U.S. election observer accreditations requested.”
The U.S. envoy, Natalie Brown, said “With only 15 accreditations approved, it is not possible for the United States to meaningfully observe the conduct of Uganda’s elections at polling sites across the country.”
However, Opondo said the U.S. applied and were accredited to observe elections.
“They (U.S.) were given 15 vacancies. They have the highest, compared to any other country. They are pulling out because they had asked for 72, and were given 15. Are they being reasonable?” wondered Opondo.
“They are not being reasonable especially if you consider covid-19. The total number of people who are going to be at this center (Tally Centre) won’t exceed 600. So if one country is given 15, they should appreciate,” he emphasised.
The development comes just a day before the general elections.
East African Community, African Union and IGAD election observers have already started work in Uganda.
President Museveni has repeatedly said western elements remained hell-bent on meddling in Uganda’s internal election, a claim U.S. denied.
Museveni further said western figures including diplomats in Uganda were quietly supporting his rival, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
Opondo today said the conduct of American Ambassador, initially, they were given 7 and they pleaded, they were given another 8 to make 15.
“This is an attempt to blackmail the futile hope that it will discredit the election. It will not,” said Opondo.
“At this material time, the Americans are the least credible to tell anybody about election Democracy when Trump is castigating the fraud in American election including the fact that dead people voted. 18,000 of them in Pennsylvania alone. 5,000 in Georgia alone.”