Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson
February 20, 2016
The United States commends the Ugandan people for participating actively and peacefully in the February 18 elections. While the vote occurred without major unrest, we must acknowledge numerous reports of irregularities and official conduct that are deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process.
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 Ugandan people deserved better. We are also concerned by the continued house arrest of opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye. We call for his immediate release and the restoration of access to all social media sites.We encourage those who wish to contest the election results to do so peacefully and in accordance with Uganda’s laws and judicial process, and urge the Ugandan government to respect the rights and freedoms of its people and refrain from interference in those processes.