The people of Uganda went to the polls in large numbers in Presidential and Parliamentary elections on 18 February, showing determination to exercise their civic rights and cast their vote.
The EU Election Observation Mission’s preliminary assessment highlights shortcomings in the election process, notably in the areas of neutrality, transparency and the effectiveness of the election administration amongst others.
The Uganda Communications Commission blocked access to social media on election day, which constitutes a severe restriction on citizens’ communication.
Moreover, the taking into police custody of opposition leader Mr Kizza Besigye several times is contrary to basic democratic principles.
The Ugandan authorities should allow the opposition to play its legitimate role, and fundamental freedoms need to be respected.
At this time, the EU expects all sides to refrain from actions and statements that may incite violence and all parties to abide by the law and resolve any election dispute through dialogue and the available legal remedies.
The EU Election Observation Mission will remain in country until the completion of the electoral process and will issue a final report with recommendations, with a view to improving the election framework. The EU stands ready to continue its dialogue with Uganda to support all efforts to foster effective and open democratic governance.