A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Kampala regarding the Ugandan elections of February 18 and the detention of Dr. Kizza Besigye:
The U.S. Embassy calls again on Ugandan authorities to release Dr. Kizza Besigye from house arrest and to permit him to travel freely. We note that Dr. Besigye has been under near continuous police detention since the February 18 election, has not been charged with any crime, and was denied his constitutional right to participate in the February 24 elections.
We further call upon Uganda authorities to cease and desist from any further harassment or intimidation of members of the opposition, such as the reported arrests of FDC party agents.
Officials of all parties, including the opposition, must be allowed to provide their leadership with polling data collected during the vote, free from intimidation or threat of detention, in accordance with international norms and the principles of a democratic society.
We are also deeply concerned by the Electoral Commission’s delay in releasing polling data.
This, along with Dr. Besigye’s detention and arrest of party agents, has inhibited citizens’ ability to verify vote tallies and potentially challenge the election results in court within the constitutionally mandated ten-day period.
We expect the Ugandan authorities to uphold the rights of all of their citizens, regardless of political affiliation, and allow the opposition to play a legitimate role in the country’s politics.
We further expect all parties to refrain from actions or rhetoric that may lead to violence and to resolve their disputes peacefully.