Uganda’s national and local elections are underway and long-term incumbent president, Yoweri Museveni, intends to make his already long leadership even longer. He is contesting against two leading opposition candidates – Kizza Besigye and Amama Mbabazi.
CORD leader Raila Odinga has called on Uganda to make sure that the country does not lose hold of peace and security as it heads to the polls on February 18, 2016.
Raila has begged the overall public in Uganda, including the ruling party and the opposition, to back a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.
According to Raila:
We appeal to the government and the electoral authorities to ensure a level playing field and a transparent conduct of the process. It is critical that the State and the electoral authorities ensure an environment prevails that makes it easy and possible for all voters to cast the ballot.
Raila pointed out that Uganda remained Kenya’s largest trading partner, adding that the elections were key in building development future of the region.
Uganda is also home to thousands of Kenyans in various professions and businesses. We appreciate these ties and friendship and we wish them to continue. Uganda’s stability and success is therefore of utmost importance to Kenya.
The opposition further demands for fair but strong punishments for all outlaws and perpetrators of violence without regards to the parties and candidates they support.
Uganda fears violence in its capital Kampala as the country heads to polls on Thursday to either re-elect her incumbent president who has held power for 30 years or his former personal physician Kizza Besigye or Amama Mbabazi, his former prime minister.
Meanwhile, five others, including a female candidate, are also running for the presidency.
On February 15, 2016, violence broke out in parts of the capital after the police detained Besigye, of the Forum for Democratic Change, preventing him from marching on the main road to attend scheduled rallies in the central business district.
The violence saw the death of at least one person, as police twice arrested Besigye and fired tear gas to disperse his supporters, who hit back with stones, and burned tyres and campaign posters of Museveni.
In a quest to avoid more violence during the election, Ugandan police have deployed 5,500 extra personnel ahead of today’s tightly contested elections. This they said will deter troublemakers from spreading their tentacles in the country’s capital.
Special constables have also been placed at each polling station for crowd control in the capital, Kampala.