The United States of America has for the second time this month warned of consequences to those who undermine democracy and human rights abusers especially ahead of 2021 general elections.
Following the release of human rights lawyer, Mr Nicholas Opio from maximum prison, the US Embassy in Kampala in a Twitter post yesterday said:
“We welcome today’s release on bail of @NickOpiyo . Civil society actors and human rights defenders play a vital role in educating the citizenry and must be allowed to carry out their work free from harassment. There will be consequences for those who undermine democracy.”
The United States Secretary of State, Mr Mike Pompeo, early this month said Washington is paying close attention to elections proceedings in Uganda and warned against human rights violation.
In a tweet, Mr Pompeo said Uganda was a long-standing partner and Washington expected its partners to hold free and fair elections.
“We are paying close attention to the actions of individuals who seek to impede the ongoing democratic process,” he said.
This was after the Democratic chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Eliot Engel, and the most senior Republican on the panel, Mr Michael McCaul, asked the US government to punish seven top Ugandan security officials under the Global Magnitsky Act for their role in rights abuses, saying the country is sliding toward authoritarianism.
Uganda is due to hold a general election on January 14, 2020, in which the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled since 1986, is seeking sixth term.
Washington is a major source of funding for Uganda’s military, supplying hardware, cash and training. It has given equipment and money.
Mr Museveni has also received diplomatic support from Washington for deploying troops in international peacekeeping missions including the fight against militants in Somalia.