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22-28 February 2016

Media Monitoring Report for Uganda
Posted on March 3, 2016


Compiled by Emma Allison Howie

  1. Journalists arrested for covering elections
  2. Restrictions placed on members of the opposition
  3. International reaction to the 2016 presidential elections


1. Journalists arrested for covering elections
Privately-Owned Media

The Daily Monitor, February 27th 2016 – Monitor journalists arrested at Besigye’s home

  • Two Daily Monitor journalists have been arrested at the home of Dr Kizza Besigye, the leader of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change in Kasangati, Wakiso District.
  • Mr Eriasa Sserunjogi, a writer and Mr Abubaker Lubowa, a photo journalist, were picked from the environs of Dr Besigye’s home where they were keeping tabs on the developments at the home that is under police siege.
  • Four journalists from other media houses were also arrested. 
  • Mr Besigye has been held at his home since Friday last week. Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura justified police presence at the former FDC president’s home, saying it is to monitor his movements and activities as his (Besigye’s) earlier public utterances could cause a spillover effect.
2. Restrictions placed on members of the opposition
Government-Owned Media

New Vision, February 22nd 2016 – “Besigye Detained At Naggalama Police Station”

  • Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, told a news conference in Kampala on Monday that Besigye was arrested outside his residence in Kasangati in Wakiso district as he attempted to leave for the city to pick declaration of results forms from the Electoral Commission (EC).
  • Besigye wants to compare entries on the EC's declaration of results forms with records from his polling agents. 
  • On the polling day, Besigye was arrested and driven to his home in Kasangati in a police vehicle after he stormed a place in Naguru, a Kampala suburb, where he claimed part of the election rigging was taking place. Besigye, who was briefly held twice two days to the polling day, was arrested for the fourth time in a week on Friday at the FDC party headquarters in Kampala where he and party stalwarts had set up an independent tally centre.
  • Without disclosing when Besigye will be freed from Naggalama Police Station, Enanga said FDC's four-time presidential candidate's movements would continue to be monitored closely by the police.


Privately-Owned Media

The Daily Monitor, February 23rd 2016 – “Besigye arrested for fourth time in 8 days”

  • Forum for Democratic Change’s Dr Kizza Besigye spent the whole of yesterday in a cell at Naggalama Police Station in Mukono District, after he was arrested in the morning as he attempted to leave his home to go to the Electoral Commission offices.
  • Dr Besigye said he wanted to collect results declaration that he could use in a possible election petition.
  • He has now been arrested four times in a space of only one week. He was first arrested two days to the elections, then again at a secret police facility in Naguru shortly after the counting of votes had started at polling stations countrywide.
  • The government deployed the army and police in Kampala and across different towns during and after the elections.

The Daily Monitor, February 22nd 2016 – “Dr Besigye arrested again, FDC offices besieged”

  • Police have besieged Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party offices in Najjanakumbi arresting eight people in the process. According to the party president Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, no one is allowed to access the office from outside or leave the premises ( for those already inside).
  • Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential flag bearer, Dr Kizza Besigye has been arrested by police as he attempted to leave his home to go to the Electoral Commission (EC) head office to ask for the official declaration forms that were used to announce the presidential election results in which President Yoweri Museveni won.

  • Dr Besigye was then bundled on a police truck and taken to Nagalama police station in Mukono district where he’s currently being held.
  • Meanwhile, police have deployed on all major junctions in Kampala. At Kisubi police station, a group of people with NRM t-shirts were gathered there in the morning with no clear motive.

The Daily Monitor, February 23rd 2016 – “End restrictions on Opposition, says Obasanjo”

  • Obasanjo, a former military and democratically elected leader, who was in Uganda as head of the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission Group, also advised government to ease “restrictions on all political leaders to allow for an atmosphere conducive for dialogue.
  • The Electoral Commission last Saturday declared President Museveni with a 60.8 per cent of the January 18 vote, extending his 30-year rule for yet another five-year term. His main challenger, FDC’s Kizza Besigye, who has been severally arrested since Election Day, polled 35 per cent but has since slammed the results a sham.
  • Yesterday, Dr Besigye, a four-time presidential runner-up, was arrested with police claiming he had organised a march to disrupt operations at the Electoral Commission offices.

  • Former prime minister Amama Mbabazi, who was at the declaration of the result placed under house arrest, described the poll as a fraud. Police and the military continue to deploy heavily around the country following the Saturday announcement.


3. International reaction to the 2016 presidential elections
Privately-Owned Media

The Daily Monitor, February 26th 2016 – “EU asks EC to public all results per polling station”

  • The European Union (EU) yesterday asked the Electoral Commission to publish without delay a copy of results from each of the country’s 28,010 polling stations breaking down scores of each of the eight presidential candidates and over 458 parliamentary contestants.
  • In a post-election statement yesterday, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) said that publishing the results online, including scanned copies of the Declaration of Results Forms will enable voters, as well as the candidates, “to comprehensively evaluate the election results”

The Daily Monitor, February 22nd 2016 – “US slams polls, tells govt to free Besigye”

  • One of President Museveni’s biggest allies, the US government, has slammed last Thursday’s presidential elections as “deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process”, telling the Ugandan government to release Opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye from house arrest immediately.
  • The US Department of State, however, commended Ugandans for “participating actively and peacefully in the February 18, elections” and said they “deserve better.”
  • “Delays in the delivery of voting materials, reports of pre-checked ballots and vote buying, ongoing blockage of social media sites, and excessive use of force by the police, collectively undermine the integrity of the electoral process,” the deputy spokesperson at the Department, Mr Mark Toner said in a statement.

The Daily Monitor, February 25th 2016 – “UN’s Ban Ki-moon decries irregularities in presidential polls”

  • United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said the world body stands by findings of international election observer groups, the European Union and Commonwealth, which noted widespread irregularities that marred Uganda’s presidential polls held last Thursday.
  • The European Union and Commonwealth observer groups, in their assessment reports, said the exercise was marked by a blatant lack of a level playing field, voter intimidation, a biased Electoral Commission, incidents of violence and harassment of Opposition politicians.

The Observer, February 23rd 2016 – “UN ‘concerned by tense post-electoral situation in Uganda’”

  • Statement from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesperson, Cécile Pouilly, dated February 23, 2016:
  • We are concerned by the tense post-electoral situation in Uganda, with reports of at least two people killed and an unknown number of people injured, heavy military and police forces deployed in the streets of Kampala, and the arrests of four opposition leaders since Thursday’s elections.

  • We remind the Government of Uganda of its obligations under international human rights law not to unduly restrict freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.


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