Updated January 14, 2021, 9:46 p.m.
- Hope bearer and pop star on the one hand, long-term president on the other: A new head of state is being elected in Uganda.
- The country is shaking.
- And the UN looks to East Africa with concern.
In what is arguably the greatest challenge facing one of the longest-serving heads of state in Africa, the citizens Uganda elected a new president. The one who has been in office for 35 years Yoweri Museveni would like to secure another term of office.
But he challenged the historical presidential election on Thursday the 38-year-old pop star and MP Bobi Wine out. This is seen as a bearer of hope by a whole generation of young Ugandans.
Internet restricted, social media blocked
After weeks of tension and violence, it was election day in the capital Kampala a large number police and military to see how a reporter from the German press agency reported. The Internet was already largely restricted on Wednesday evening, social media have already been blocked. Nevertheless, a number of people stood in line at the polling stations to cast their votes.
“We represent the common people, the young people and the poor people of Uganda,” said Wine (real name Robert Kyagulanyi) after choosing. He feels “a big responsibility” on his shoulders.
Wine is given a good chance of winning in a free and fair election. However, experts and observers expected that Museveni will not allow any winner but himself.
The now over 70-year-old was once considered Freedom fighter and savior for the country torn by years of violence. He ensured stability, stimulated the economy and improved the infrastructure.
Wine: “It was clear from the start that there was no fairness whatsoever”
But because of corruption, inefficient institutions and worse Governance East African Uganda has not achieved the progress that young people in the country of 44 million people want.
According to the World Bank, around 70 percent of Ugandans still work in agriculture, most of them in subsistence farming. Wine, on the other hand, represents a long-awaited change for many young Ugandans.
The past few months have shown what a threat Wine poses to the incumbent president. Because of the Corona-Pandemie the government had restricted the election campaigns, but even the UN human rights office reported that the opposition was disadvantaged and more restricted.
Security forces repeatedly took action against members of the opposition and their supporters. Dozens of people died in Protests in November.
Wine himself was harassed and arrested. “It was clear from the start that there was no fairness whatsoever,” said Wine.
Museveni warned the citizens of Uganda on Thursday to stay peaceful. When asked whether he would accept the election results, he said “of course – if no mistakes are made during the vote count”.
Election observers not allowed in Uganda
Internationally, many expressed concern about the situation in Uganda and the electoral process. UN Secretary General António Guterres was “concerned about reports of violence and tension in parts of Uganda”.
Above all, he called on the security forces to “exercise maximum restraint,” it said on Wednesday. Many international Election observer – including those of the EU – were not allowed.
The day before the election, the US ambassador had Natalie Brown announced the cancellation of the US observer mission, since more than three quarters of the requested accreditations had been rejected.
A total of eleven candidates run for the highest office in the country. In addition to the president, Ugandans also elect a new parliament. Results are expected within two days. (msc / dpa)
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