As of 13 January 2021, tensions remain high across Uganda ahead of the general election scheduled for 14 January. Most recently, security personnel in Obongi County fired live ammunition and tear gas at supporters of member of parliament candidate Hassan Kaps Fungaroo during a campaign rally on 13 January. At least one person was killed, and three others were injured. Meanwhile, on 12 January, key opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi — more commonly known as Bobi Wine — of the National Unity Platform (NUP) party, claimed that the military raided his home and assaulted two of his guards while he was conducting a live radio interview. Wine has largely halted his campaign efforts in recent days as security personnel have frequently intervened, using force to disperse campaign rallies and detaining Wine and his campaign team.
Opposition candidates claim that police officers and military personnel have used excessive force against their supporters throughout the campaign period. Thus far, dozens of individuals have been killed and hundreds more injured during election-related unrest across the country, which has been largely attributed to security personnel forcefully dispersing campaign events.
Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party announced on 12 January that the government had shut down all social media sites ahead of the election. The shutdown followed a decision by social media network Facebook to remove several Ugandan accounts linked to Museveni’s reelection campaign. Additionally, the government has increased the number of police and military personnel patrolling the country, particularly in the capital city Kampala.
Analyst Comment: President Museveni assumed the presidency in 1986 following multiple years of war. Wine and nine other candidates are running in the presidential election on 14 January, although Wine is considered the key challenger. Elections in Uganda are often rife with allegations of voter fraud and rigging by internal and international actors, and a peaceful transfer of power has not occurred since the country gained independence in 1962. The U.S. and European Union have stated that they will not have observers at the election, after the Ugandan government failed to approve the majority of U.S. observers and declined an offer by the EU to deploy a team of experts