Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the electoral process in Uganda was “neither free nor fair”.
The United States has said it is imposing visa restrictions on “those responsible for or complicit in undermining the democratic process in Uganda,” including during an election in January and during the election period.
President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, got a sixth term during the January 14 poll 58.6 percent of the vote. His closest challenger Bobi Wine, who won 34.8% of the vote, challenged the tally and the alleged fraud.
“Opposition candidates were regularly harassed, arrested and illegally detained without charge. Ugandan security forces are responsible for the deaths and injuries of dozens of innocent passers-by and opposition supporters, ”US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. declaration Friday, adding that the electoral process was “neither free nor fair”.
“The Ugandan government needs to dramatically improve its record and hold those responsible for the poor conduct of elections, violence and intimidation to account,” he added.
The statement, however, does not specify who is affected by the visa restrictions. There was no immediate reaction from the Ugandan government.
Museveni, 76, has dismissed allegations of electoral fraud, calling the elections “no cheating” since the country gained independence from Britain in 1962.
The preparation for the elections was marked by violence and repression by the security forces during opposition rallies.
In November, 54 people were killed as security forces tried to quell riots that broke out in several cities after Bobi Wine, real name Robert Kyagulanyi, was arrested for allegedly violating anti-coronavirus measures. He was arrested several times during his campaign.
After Museveni’s re-election, the United States warned he is said to be considering “targeted actions” against members of the security forces responsible for electoral irregularities and abuses against opposition candidates.
For its part, Uganda accused the United States for trying to “subvert” the election after the American ambassador tried to visit Bobi Wine, then under house arrest.
US Ambassador Natalie E. Brown has been barred from visiting the opposition leader at his residence in a suburb on the northern outskirts of the capital, Kampala.
The embassy said in a statement on Jan. 18 that Brown wanted to check on “the health and safety” of Bobi Wine, who rose to fame after years of chanting about government corruption and nepotism.
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo replied that Brown had no business visiting Bobi Wine.
“What she has blatantly tried to do is meddle in Uganda’s internal politics, especially the elections, to overturn our elections and the will of the people,” he said. . “She shouldn’t do anything outside of diplomatic standards.”
Under Museveni, Uganda’s relationship with the United States has been built on military cooperation, including in Somalia, where Ugandan troops, trained and equipped by the United States, are at the heart of the peacekeeping mission. the peace that fights the armed group al-Shabab.
The United States gives approximately $ 1 billion a year in security and development assistance to Uganda.