Uganda defends democratic image

Aug. 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM
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KAMPALA, Uganda, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- The political opposition in Uganda is using the national electoral commission "as a punching bag," a spokesman for the organization said.

Uganda holds presidential and parliamentary elections in 2016. Yoweri Museveni secured a presidential victory in 2011. He first assumed office in 1986.

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye said the 2016 contest was already fixed in favor of the incumbent. Ugandan electoral commission spokesman Jotham Taremwa told the Daily Monitor newspaper in Uganda the allegations were baseless.

"They are using the EC as a punching bag. They are trying to make the stakeholders misunderstand it," he said in an interview published Thursday. "The allegation is wild, it is false."

Besigye said this week the 2016 contest would be a ruse to trick the international community into believing Uganda is a democracy. He's challenged Museveni in three elections.

Taremwa said the election commission "midwifes democracy in this country."

In May, the Daily Monitor came under police scrutiny when it published a feature alleging orders were given to kill anyone who stated opposition to Muhoozi Kainerugaba, son of the Ugandan president.

Monitor Publications Ltd., parent company of Ugandan newspaper The Daily Monitor, issued an apology saying its editorial policy had been violated.

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