Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an umbrella body of civic society organisations in Zimbabwe, has called for peace and restraint ahead of the Ugandan Presidential elections slated for January 14 next year.
Uganda has seen an upsurge in politically-motivated violence as tensions rise ahead of the vote in which incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, is seeking to extend his 34-year-old reign by another five years.
CiZC implored Ugandan authorities to desist from the use of force against civilians.
“As CiZC, we are deeply concerned with the recent acts of brutality by the police and the army which led to the death of about 50 people following protests that erupted after the arrest of Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) who was arrested for allegedly defying COVID-19 regulations during a campaign rally in Luuka on November 18, 2020,” CiZC said.
More than 800 people have also been arrested in connection with the protests amid allegations by the Ugandan opposition that the ruling party is abusing COVID-19 regulations to stifle campaigns by political rivals ahead of the January elections.
“As Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, we firmly stand by the fact that peaceful processes are a panacea to free, fair and credible elections hence we condemn the brutal crackdown on opposition leaders and supporters ahead of the Ugandan elections”.
CiZC called on the Ugandan opposition to observe the law ahead of the January elections but emphasised that the brutality by the police and the military which led to the fatal shooting of about 50 civilians had no place in a modern democracy.
The civil society coalition reiterated the need for intervention by the African Union as well as the international community in ensuring that peace prevails before, during and after the January 2021 elections in Uganda.
There are fears that the events unfolding in Uganda are pointing to a predetermined election outcome which will fail the credibility test.