U.S. to impose visa restrictions on persons who undermined Uganda elections

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Staff members count ballots at a polling station in Najjera, Wakiso District, Uganda, on Jan. 14, 2021. (Photo by Hajarah Nalwadda/Xinhua)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. will impose visa restrictions on individuals accused of subverting democracy in Uganda following the January 14 elections and campaign period before it.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. /VCG

“There are consequences for interfering in the democratic process. Starting today, we are imposing visa restrictions on those involved in undermining democracy in Uganda,” Blinken said on Friday.

Uganda’s incumbent Yoweri Museveni won the presidential election with 58.64 percent of the tallied votes, defeating 10 challengers including his closest rival, musician-turned-politician Robert Kyagulani, popularly known as Bobi Wine.

The campaigns, which began in early November amid the COVID-19 pandemic, registered scenes of violence as police and opposition supporters clashed in what observers said was one of Uganda’s most contested elections.

One such incident was the riot of November 18-19 where 54 people lost their lives as security forces dispersed protestors.

Moreover, a day before the election, the government ordered a total internet shut down amid fears it would be used to spread messages of hate and violence.

The government switched on the internet days later but social media remained blocked.

(Story compiled with input from Xinhua)

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