Kampala [bmc]-February 17, 2016 – Ugandan authorities should immediately drop all charges against radio journalist Richard Mungu Jakican, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Police entered the studios of the privately owned station Radio North FM in the northern Ugandan city of Lira the night of February 13 and arrested Jakican in the middle of his talk radio show, according to press accounts and the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda, an advocacy group. Police also detained seven politicians who were discussing a recent presidential debate on the show, the group said.
CPJ has documented a worsening pattern of harassment and intimidation of journalists in Uganda as presidential elections scheduled to take place February 18 approach. In recent days, the government has deployed military troops throughout urban centers, an act which some opposition candidates have criticized as intended to intimidate voters,according to reports. President Yoweri Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, is seeking to extend his 30-year stay in power.
“Pulling a journalist and his guests away from the microphone in the middle of a radio show is shocking, crude censorship,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney in New York. “All charges against Richard Mungu Jakican should be dropped immediately, and President Museveni should ensure that all voices can be heard in this campaign.”
Prosecutors initially charged Jakican, who is also the news editor of the station, with malicious damage to property after police claimed he and the politicians he hosted had defaced Museveni’s re-election posters during a break in the show. The charges were later amended to aiding and abetting a crime, an apparent reference to the damaged posters, and he was released on February 17 on bail of 200,000 Ugandan shillings (US$60).
Haruna Kanaabi, executive director of the Independent Media Council, an associationof journalists that campaigns for self-regulation of the media in Uganda, told CPJ he had conducted multiple interviews with colleagues of the journalist and found that there was no indication that any posters were defaced either by him or the politicians he hosted on his show.
Authorities have previously singled out radio stations, a particularly influential medium in rural Uganda, for unwelcome attention in the presidential campaign. On January 20, another station, Endigyito FM, was closed down after it hosted one of the opposition candidates, Amama Mbabazi. It remains closed.
West Africa Representative
As the day has gone and some first results is coming. I will not comment on them now, as they are not as interesting as the reactions and violations of democratic values and vile display of disgrace of the public will from the authorities and the ruling party in Uganda.
As the Uganda Communication Commission together with Electoral Commission banned Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook, even mobile-money transfers services. As this could give biased news and dangerous bribing of voters, as the voters has not been bribed during the pre-election period at all. Well, the public found other ways of finding the social media and avoid the issue with Uganda Telecom (UTL/Mango), MTN and Airtel. As they download different VPN services on their phone and still got in to the social media outlets. The actual numbers of downloads this day was staggering 1,432,653. By my reckoning also the apparent ghost that will also in total vote in the election when the tally is done.
At one point of the day the Special Forces Command took control of Nakasero Referal Hospital as it had a technical and importance for the authorities as the Presidential guards needed to secure the premises.
In Gaba a suburb of Kampala the public first waited for hours. This happen:
“In Gaba at St Dennis church a full box was brought with ballot papers already ticked in favor of the incumbent who triggered a riot by locals. Military, Police and black mamba security in tinted cars without number-plate were seen patrolling the place. Voting has ended”. As well as the actions contained this as well: “The voters set fire on all the ballots boxes brought”.
Even early in the day there we’re little or no voting material in vast amounts of polling stations in Wakiso District and Kampala Capital City as the Electoral Commission hadn’t delivered the ballots-papers to the stations. As people came early as the voting starting 07.00 and was to end with the new time 16.00 but with the late arrival nearly at 13.00 or 14.00 even as late as 14.54 that gave the long waiting ques simmering anger at the incompetence or deliberate plunder of time of the people in the area. Even the with the UCC and Telecom bans the Electoral Commission wanted people on Social Media around 14.00 to tell that the Polling stations in the affected areas would be officially open to 19.00 as the people should be able to do their civic duty.
In Kajanisi, Kampala a Police Officer was arrested and taken away as he held over 600 ballots-papers pre-ticket for the NRM and President Museveni. Radio One report that Kajjansi B health center polling station in Kampala closed after 3 boxes with pre-ticked ballots in favor of President Museveni and Peter Sematimba were found in a car. Live Bullets in Namuwongo Taking Place. Police and Military Have Intimidated Voters hence forcing them NOT to cast their votes, remember, voting had just begun late at 2:03pm
As of Makindye:
“9:18PM Voting at 22 polling stations in Makindye affected by late delivery of voting materials postponed till tomorrow: Electoral Commission” (NBS TV, 18.02.2016).
In Fort Portal:
“At public library polling station in south division, Fort Portal, 450 ballot papers were received yet the number of registered voters is 429, an excess of 21 ballots. And yet Nyakagongo parish Headquarters in East division received less ballot papers than the number of registered voters. They received 10 booklets some containing 46 ballots, some 50 and others 49 instead of all containing 50 each booklet. There was a total of 500 ballot papers. They have 471 registered voters. They started voting at 7:15am Report: Scovia Atuhaire & Felix Basiime (Daily Monitor, 18.02.2016).
“Polling agents in Kizungu, Masaka Sports Club have confirmed to Kampala FM that they were not given basins where voters will tick from. This has therefore delayed the voting process since they (agents) too can not afford buying basins” (Kampala FM, 18.02.2016).
More about elections in Masaka:
“Unindentified people have been with fifty Museveni pre-ticked ballot papers at Kaboyo Primary school polling station in Lwengo. The voters who were present at the polling station did not allow police to take the culprits and instead resorted to caining them. They were later on told to go back home and the pre ticked ballots were burnt”.
“Karamojong tribeswoman casts her ballot at a polling station during the presidential elections in Kaabong in Karamoja region”.
“NRM’s Evelyn Anite slips her ballot paper into the ballot box in Koboko Municipality in northern Uganda”.
Early in Apac Town today:
“Voting in Apac town area commenced by 07.10 am. Most polling stations have not had chaos yet, as they voted, Police are all round in Polling stations. Most of the busiest business centers are closed. The number of people in town has also gone down and a few petty businesses are going on” (Rupiny Newspaper, 18.02.2016).
“Last evening, 170 polling officials in River Oli Division in Arua district threatened to boycott work unless Electoral Commission increases their allowances. They include polling assistants and presiding officers. Geoffrey Drani, one of the affected presiding officers, told URN during their recruitment Electoral Commission promised to pay presiding officers Shillings 60,000 and 40,000 for polling assistants. He however, says they were shocked yesterday to receive appointment letters showing that they will receive Shillings 20, 000 each day. According to Drani, as a result, they have declined to sign the appointment letters until Electoral Commission increases the money”.
“No incident has been registered while in Alebtong, Amolatar, Otuke and part of Lira districts by 9:00am the voting have not started despite the fact that many electorate turned up to cast to their votes. “You cast you votes and you come back and continue with your business,” said Betty Akello shorting after voting at VH primary school polling station. Patrick Okello of Omoro Sub County in Alebtong said at Onyeroiye polling station business is going on well and the turned up was overwhelming. “We think the turned up will be 80% because people are voting seriously,” he said” (Rupiny Newspaper, 18.02.2016).
“Elections of the MP kween district have been postponed until further notice reason the symbols for the candidates didn’t match instead vice versa I mean interchanged for FDC was in independent and for independent in that of FDC”.
The Woman Parliamentary MP Vote for Yumbe was cancelled today! (88.7 Arua ONE FM, 18.02.2016).
If you ever thought Kahinda Otafiire would go away silent as the audio-tape of his bribing tactics as he tried to buy the seat from his opponent that beat him in the NRM Primaries during 2015. 2016, has not been his year and continues as he has been jailed today as he has been distributing bribes of UGX 20k to voters in Mitooma (theInsider.ug, 18.02.2016). Doesn’t seem that the UCC bribe act with stopping mobile-money service stopped Otafiire from acting up! (I was not supposed to write that or think that, my bad!).
“The shame of Kiruhura, after yesterday all night harassment, detention and forceful eviction of opposition supporters in Kiruhura. Today what we are witnessing is, because of fear instilled on our supporters by the security and armed militias last night, they have stayed away from the polling stations”.
“Police was forced to fire teargas to disperse hundreds of Apollo Yeri Ofwono’s supporters who had threatened to set a blaze the home of the prime minister of Iteso cultural union Paul Sande Emolot in Tororo municipality. Ofwono’s supporters raided Emolot’s home on suspicion that it was used to bribe residents to vote for the incumbent Member of Parliament Sanjay Tanna” (New Vision, 18.02.2016).
Later in the day Dr. Kizza Besigye arrested:
“Besigye was arrested when he joined his supporters and they stormed a house in Naguru, a Kampala upscale suburb arguing that there is alleged vote rigging taking place”. Kizza Besigye have after the arrest by the Police in Naguru, been taken to Kasangati Police Station. That is currently detained.
“Video footage of an FDC raid on a reported safe house in Naguru being used to allegedly tick ballot papers led by Rtd. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye in which he was also later arrested for trespassing” (NBS TV Uganda, 18.02.2016).
Shawn Mabiru says this about the detaining of Besigye:
“He was in his home district where he voted when he got information that there was an illegal tally centre manned by the NRM and police” (…)”He walked in and saw them pre-ticking ballot papers. They arrested him and took him to an unknown place”.
In Lira yesterday:
“Lira Magistrate Court today released on Court bail seven people who were arrested over the weekend on allegation of defacing posters belonging to NRM Presidential Candidate Yoweri Museveni. Willy Omodo Omodo the GO Forward Candidate for Oyam North MP, Ibrahim Olong who is contesting for Lira Municipality Mayor and Abura James Walter Youth Councillor for Lira Municipality. Others are Mungu Richard Jakisa the News Editor at Radio North, Otim Innocent , Tile David and Patrick Awongo (Radio Wa 89.8 FM, 17.02.2016).
In Kihihi yesterday:
There was reports that the locals “delivered” and got a 100 Rwandan nationals ferried to vote in the election the 18th had come to Kihihi district to vote for President Museveni. They all stayed in Kihihi Police Station. As they wanted them to ship them home and let Ugandans vote in their election.
In Kayunga County yesterday as the government was kind yesterday:
“Kayunga District distributed more 66 heifers worth 102 million shillings to farmers under the Luwero Rwenzori Development Programme” (17.02.2016); the Government all of sudden share their funds just the day before the election, nothing suspicious about that at all…
The magic is that President Museveni has gotten over 3000 votes while the original papers from the Electoral Commission are saying the total voters are 2098!
Rushere Primary School:
The tally shows another magical result for President Museveni he got 760 votes, Kizza Besigye 2 votes. The magical part is that the School and Polling station has 437 votes!
Fear level at certain places:
As the results are pouring in and the tallies are counted. The Army is deploying heavy forces in Luwero and Nakaseke!
Amama Mbabazi message during the elections today:
“I ask all voters in this election to keep vigilant and report any suspicious incident. I would like to thank the team from Karamoja that is vigilant and have reported the following anomalies. In Abim district, the District Registrar is withdrawing a Presidential booklet (50 ballots) from each polling station and taking to unknown destination claiming that some polling stations were in short supply/under served. We question this logic because it is not only President being voted for today but all Members of Parliament as well. There are 60 polling stations in Abim and this amounts to 3000 votes being taken away. South of Amudat in a place called Karita subcounty, our agents with polling agent letters and supervisors have been chased away by Crime Preventers who are armed. Tell us what is happening at your polling station” (Mbabazi, 18.02.2016).
There will come more in the coming days as the ministers, local council men and all the elections results will come and people will react to the new 10th Parliament and who will become the new president in Uganda, as the results hopefully get rid of President Museveni as his rigging time should be over and let the people’s will shine. Peace.