The European Union (EU) has warned against excessive use of force by law enforcement and security agencies ahead of this week’s general election which will take place on Thursday, January 14, 2021.
Since the launch of presidential campaigns in November last year, the pre-electoral cycle has been marred by violence and numerous difficulties faced by several opposition presidential candidates, civil society organisations, human rights defenders, electoral experts as well as journalists.
The EU representative in Uganda, Josep Borrell revealed that excessive use of force by security agencies has seriously tarnished the electoral process.
“At this crucial time, the EU expects transparent, inclusive and credible elections, as well as a level-playing field that allows all Ugandans to exercise their democratic rights, as candidates and as citizens, without fear of intimidation or violence. Crucial work of human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organisations should be supported to ensure accountability and transparency,” he said.
Mr Borrell said EU observers, who were deployed across the country during elections in 2006, 2011 and 2016 will not observe these elections.
“The EU’s offer to deploy a small team of electoral experts was not taken up. The role of local observers will be even more important than before.” he added.
He said shared values of democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law will continue underpinning European Union relations with Uganda in 2021 and beyond.