Pesacheck is an East-African fact checker organisation. It had already struck me that many of the fact-checks they were doing were totally irrelevant or biased towards the Museveni dictatorship.
For example, they factchecked a tweet with 40 retweets that a voter got tortured for not voting Museveni. Actually, it was a photo from Ghana. Factcheck succeeded.
However, no reference is made to the fact that disappearances and torture happen on a large scale. This has been documented by Al Jazeera. None of the real Ugandan torture stories have been factchecked by Pesacheck. An outsider is left with the impression that in general the stories about torture in Uganda are false.
On 31 March they published the following factcheck:
Obviously it’s a great idea to double check such an important statement. Let’s look at the reasoning provided by Pesacheck.
Basically Pesacheck is saying; the EC is the authority for elections, whatever they say about it is true. Well, this does not meet their own principles 2.1.
I do agree that reputation can be a part of your analysis. However, the Electoral Commission does not have a good reputation at all. Just some examples:
In 2016, the European Union observation mission stated that the EC is not sufficiently independent from the Ugandan government.
The EC chairman spoke out publicly against the National Unity Platform
National Unity Platform and FDC were not able to campaign. Complaints were dismissed.
EC has never investigated the hundreds of polling stations in 2016 and in 2021 that have a 100% voter turnout; where even dead people have voted.
On March 1st the EC published a DoR that is highly suspicious and likely the result of fraud. The EC has never given any further comment.
Interestingly, none of these five items have been the subject of any factcheck by Pesacheck, or are they mentioned anywhere in their analysis.
My conclusion is that the Pesacheck factchecks are a joke. Especially dictator Museveni is having a good laugh.
I am writing to request for the immediate release of my fellow Ugandans that have been falsely detained and imprisoned on fake or no charges. They are grabbed from streets, their businesses or homes. They are then killed or brutally arrested, beaten, kicked and the majority sustaining broken bones, damage to their organs, wounds etc from the torture inflicted by your soldiers (military men).
So many men, women and teenagers are dying whilst in your custody (your prisons, safe-houses and various torture centers). Most of these people have not had a chance to trial, hence abusing their rights to life and freedom.
The girls and women in detention are raped again and again in addition to the cruel beatings and torture they are subjected to by your soldiers. They can barely walk and some are still bleeding as a result of aggressive assault suffered. This inhumane treatment is despicable and disgusting.
The soldiers raping these girls are actively spreading sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These women need urgent treatment for the STDs that they have contracted from being raped by your men. The unfortunate cases that have contracted HIV technically have been denied chances of getting urgent help making their health problems even worse!
Did you know that HIV can be prevented if these girls/women had access to emergency treatments such as PrEP? These innocent girls/women have no hope for medical checkups, treatment or future. You have sentenced many people to death indirectly!!! And most of them have died in your custody. The girls’ wombs are ruptured, and there is general internal damage to the girls & women from the rape and gruesome torture.
Not only the women suffer but the men too, their manhood (private parts), are completely destroyed due to the torture inflicted on them. Your soldiers squeeze the men’s testicles and at times, beat them with huge sticks or kick them in their manhood.
In general, so much damage has been inflicted on the kidnapped and arrested victims. Missing body parts like fingers, organs or damaged/crushed organs like kidneys etc. have been noted. Also many dead people as well as dismembered bodies are disposed off in various locations around the country. Ugandans have a right to know or be 2 informed when their loved ones are dead. It should not be hidden from the public and the dead people need to be respected as they deserve a right to decent burials.
The rest of Ugandans are treated like criminals on a daily basis, the only free individuals are your relatives, friends and the police plus foreign soldiers you deployed in our country. (Foreign soldiers from Angola, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia etc…)
Are Ugandans your enemies? What did we do to you?
Order all your torture centers and prisons to release those innocent people immediately. The country is aware these people have been beaten and tortured so badly. Let them be released so they can go for treatment
Save lives now! Do not keep them trying to heal their wounds in detention before releasing them because you make their health problems even worse.
Stop killing people. If anyone of them have committed a crime, they can be summoned and stand trial prior to sentencing. They should not be tortured or killed. Uganda’s constitution does not even support the death penalty. So who are you to judge, and kill people on the spot without trial? Why?
Immediately stop kidnapping people. Many are taken away in unmarked vehicles.
The internet is off and that is a major problem. Is the internet your property too? Many people have died as a result. You have denied the country access to their mobile money accounts or finances. Money for food, hospital treatment and other necessities cannot be accessed. The internet and social media should be turned back on. Internet is not ‘State Property’, it is the people’s right.
Finally my thoughts on the sham elections.
We as Ugandans have had enough. We are in hiding because we had elections!! What a shame? If you claim you won elections, then go out and celebrate. Why are you killing people? Why do we have to walk on eggshells? Respect our country. If you feel you are not liked, then it is about time you stepped down. It is not a crime if Ugandans want a different leader. Personally I do not think killing, torturing or kidnapping people with a difference in opinion will change anything. You can capture people (bodies) but remember that their minds or souls are not captured. Are you going to kidnap everybody? Or perhaps kill everyone? Stop all the injustices Uganda cannot suffer anymore. No!!! Uganda will respect you more if you stepped down, sooner than later!
As earlier election periods in Uganda, the last months were full on insecurity and state intervention. Delving into the elections where Dr. Kizza Besigye run against Yoweri Museveni in 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2016, showed us that state violence & abuse of judiciary during elections is a common phenomenon in Uganda. In particular, in the 2016 elections, Dr. Kizza Besigye won the popular vote with 52%. But the moment his party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) declared their results, their headquarters at Najjanankumbi was raided by the Uganda Police. All computers were confiscated, and all in the tally center arrested. Dr. Kizza Besigye was put under arrest for 90 days, and charged with treason. The day after the elections, the streets of Kampala were silent. The people mourned the death of democracy and faced the harsh reality that they were ruled by the gun. This frustrating experience led to the rise of Bobi Wine.
2016 EU recommendations
After the 2016 elections, the election observer mission from the EU made the following recommendations, of which none were implemented. Furthermore, for the 2021 elections, the EU observers were not invited. The mission from USA was also hindered, who had to abort the mission. The Ugandan government gave a strong signal that it wanted no foreign observation.
Several weeks before the elections, many journalists and observers were expelled from Uganda. From the beginning to the end of the election process, there was no clear distinction between the NRM party, and the state. As recommended by the EU observers in 2016, government should not be used for campaigns, but it would play a crucial role during the campaigns. Remaining journalists would remain mainly confined to Kampala.
In preparation of the 2021 elections on January 14, several surveys by Dr. Schoonderwoerd were taken to gain insight in the expected results during voting. In these results, Bobi Wine started to take a lead over Museveni, especially when violence was used by the state during campaigns. With every act of violence against opposition, the popularity of Museveni lowered.
The survey also asked if Ugandans expected the election to be honest. 58% indicated No, 35% said Yes, the remaining 7% didn’t know. A big majority of Kyagulanyi voters don’t believe in honest elections, but also a small part of the Museveni voters. This is reflected by a small survey on twitter among Ugandans on January 26.
In these surveys of Dr. Schoonderwoerd respondents had the opportunity to answer some other questions.
Dr. Schoonderwoerd concluded with the following analysis:
This survey shows that life in Uganda for our respondents has become more difficult in the last 5 years, and they have seen corruption increasing. Education is also worse. Health care is perceived as the same. Although most do not expect an honest election, a big majority is planning to vote. The biggest wish of the respondents is change, and they expect to find this with their votes on new opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi (61%). Even many of those voting Museveni (34%) are asking for change. Statistics give a probability of 97.5% to Kyagulanyi having the majority of the votes. The support for Kyagulanyi is consistent among males and females, and those living in urban and rural areas. Most Besigye voters in 2016 are now voting Kyagulanyi. Two thirds of the Museveni voters from 2016 stick to their favorite. But the new voters, in overwhelming majority, vote for Kyagulanyi. If these young voters will show up in the polling stations then the change they are asking for might indeed be realized.
This was reinforced by a different survey conducted by Market Intelligence Group (MIG).
Although the state has tried to harass the opposition for the last decades, we will limit our time frame to the current election period. This started several days before the nomination day of presidential candidates. NUP had raised funds and signatures for nomination of Members of Parliament, and the presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi. NUP had collected 6 million signatures of support for the presidency of Kyagulanyi. NUP had also collected 117 million Uganda shilling to pay for the nomination of candidates throughout the country. Several days before the deadline of for nomination the president, dozens of armed soldiers and police raided the headquarters of NUP and confiscated the signatures, 23 million shillings, and other belongings.
Although NUP directly communicated to its branches to start collecting new signatures to secure nomination, it gave a clear signal of state harassment. On nomination day Kyagulanyi (NUP) and Patrick Oboi Amuriat (FDC) were intimidated, arrested, and manhandled by Uganda Police.
Kyagylanyi was arrested after he had submitting his nomination days, and placed into a van for three hours, while police violently dispersed supporters waiting at the home of Kyagulanyi. In this van, he was tortured. Police sprayed him with tear gas, placed hot metal in his hands, and beat him. His arrest from his police was recorded.
The election campaign were marred with extreme violence. Patrick Oboi Amuriat was arrested 13 times, and taken to court 3 times. 5 Members from his team were arrested 4 times. At December 28, a can of pepper spray was emptied in the face of Amuriat in Tororo district. The election team of Amuriat claims that they were confronted by teargas every day during campaigns.
Kyagulanyi was constantly harassed, and supporters beaten by the Ugandan Police Forces, but also soldiers from the military. These security forces used the excuse of covid-19 to prevent people from gathering
However, this policy was used only against opposition candidates. Wherever president Museveni went, there was no such harassment. The Electoral Commission remained silent on the issue, signaling that it was not an independent organ, but influenced by the state.
Arrest Bobi Wine
On 18 November, Kyagulanyi was arrested, pepper sprayed, before thrown into a van. Security forces started to shoot live bullets on citizens that protested against the arrest. Local Defense Units (LDU’s) which were deployed in the cities, started shooting at any citizen with NUP symbols. The Uganda Police claimed that 54 citizens were killed, many innocent bystanders. Eye witness count claimed that around 90 citizens were killed.
After the release of Kyagulanyi, campaigns continued, with increasing violence by the state against opposition activists and supporters.
A grenade was thrown to Kyagulanyi, who started a helmet and bulletproof vest afterwards. In several incidents, Police fired live bullets at the vehicle of Kyagulanyi. https://fb.watch/3nlqLPy9MF/
On 11 december, 27 team members of Kyagulanyi were arrested, while journalists were beaten. The team was prevented to access a hotel, and had to spend the night on the roadside in or around their cars.
On 1st of Januari, 20 members of the team were arrested and detained at military barracks in Masaka. Over 40 other members were in detention at Kalangala. Information was transferred from prison that these members were tortured.
The dictatorship arraigned 48 campaign team members (including Nubian Lee, Eddie Mutwe, Dan Magic, Bobi Young, etc) before the General Court Martial at Makindye and charged them with illegal possession of ammunition. Lawyers and family members of the comrades were all denied access to the court. The judiciary was used in state interests.
12 January. Joint Press Conference
On 12 January, several presidential candidates and Dr. Kizza Besigye come together to have a joint press conference, denouncing the violence used by the state, and their united action in case of rigged elections.
Several days before the election, the internet was shut down to prevent the world from being able to see what was going on. International observer missions from EU and USA were cancelled due to blocking of the Ugandan government. Most journalists were in central Uganda, were it was relatively calm. In Western and Northern Uganda, however, massive force and rigging was used. Embassies were given state VPN, who blocked them completely from any information other than the one from the Ugandan government.
14 January. Election Day
Many videos were shared recording ballot stuffing
As the internet was switched off, NUP agents were put under arrest and the military deployed everywhere, security forces rigged with impunity
This was recorded in Butembe county, Jinja District. The military took positions and was ordering people to vote for Museveni. This happened in many rural areas. There are several others who were caught recording videos and were immediately ordered to delete the videos, their phones were confiscated and thrown away.
These videos were recorded in Kisoro. Security operatives came to polling stations and took away the ballot papers and ticked all of them in favor of Museveni. On returning them, the voters were told that all ballot papers had been ticked and there was no longer opportunity to vote for the president. Our agents complained and they were immediately arrested. With all this rigging, he could only muster 58%. It is clear that Museveni could not even get 20% in a free and fair election.
Kisoro. In this video, the presiding officer was reporting to her supervisor how security operatives took away all ballot papers and ticked them. People who recorded these videos were doing so in fear because of the potential repercussions if they were seen recording. All security operatives who participated in this fraud and those who gave them the orders are an embarrassment to this nation. Regime operatives have been moving in different villages looking for our polling agents and asking them to fill new DR forms.
People were ordered to vote in presence of everyone, such as military. At several polling stations, the military raided polling stations, chased everyone away and stuffed ballot papers at will. At other stations in Isingiro and other districts, people reached polling stations only to be told that they could only vote for MPs as the president had already been voted for. Many witnesses are willing to come out, others recorded these on video although for many, attempting to record attracted severe beatings and torture.
After the elections, many arrests were (and are still being) made by so called ‘drones’. These are specific vans that are positioned throughout cities, and are known to monitor and arrest citizens that are in support of opposition. What follows, is a collection of missing persons in the past days.
29 Januari. Kakooza Mozes, Sub County Coordinator for Renewed Uganda is arrested in in Wobulenzi, Luweero District.
The 2021 elections of 14 January in Uganda, were the most rigged election in the history of the country. During campaigns the state used both security forces as the judiciary to disrupt the campaigns of opposition. More than 100 citizens died because of state violence, hundreds are under arrest or missing, feared to be in safe houses that are known to be torture chambers. Presidential candidates were arrested, pepper sprayed, and shot at with live bullets, grenades, and tear gas. There is one instance that chemicals were used against supporters, while supporters were also stabbed with a bayonet by a police officer. Intense state violence was used against the population, and there are hundreds of incidents of election fraud, where pre-ticket ballots for Museveni were used, or voters had to fill in their choice under the watchful eye of armed soldiers.
Election observer mission were actively shunned, while the internet shut down prevented the world to witness the violence in Western and Northern Uganda. None of the recommendations of the EU election observer mission were followed. It is clear that the Ugandan government is functioning as a dictatorship.
NUP had expected this violence and election fraud, that is why the project UVote was started, to collect and protect the real votes of the people. Results can be found on: https://uvote-uganda.com/. This results reinforce the earlier surveys. Not Museveni won the 14 January elections, but Robert Kyagulanyi. Museveni is using the full capacity of the state to hide this election fraud. It is important that all donors denounce the election results, and stop sending donor funding to the government. It is clear that the Ugandan government is no longer a legitimate received of donor support, in particular, its Police, Army, and Judiciary.
However, most mainstream media reported that the Ugandan elections were relatively peaceful, and that Museveni had won the elections. They are maintaining the narrative of the Ugandan dictatorship. Donor embassies have maintained their ‘cordial’ relationships with the Ugandan government. In response, protests have erupted all over the world. Protest occurred in the United States, Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Switzerland, Kenya, Malawi, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Sweden, and are likely to continue until the will of the Ugandan people is acknowledged.
On 16 January the Electoral Commission announced the results that president Museveni has requested for. In this blogpost we will be explaining how they rigged the election.
As a scientist I request that the reader asks him or herself a number of questions.
Why would the Ugandan government shutdown the internet if it wants to organize transparent elections?
Why were voters chased away from polling stations if the government is confident they have the majority?
Why were agents from NUP & other parties chased away?
Why were agents hunted down, tortured and their copies of DORs destroyed?
Why weren’t opposition parties allowed to campaign?
Why weren’t opposition parties allowed access to radio & TV?
Why were so many journalists & election experts expelled from the country?
Why did the military & police had to intimidate their own people on a day that is supposed to be the celebration of democracy?
Why weren’t observers from European Union not invited like in 2016?
Why is Electoral Commission announcing the president to be the winner without providing a breakdown of how they got to that result?
There are many, many more questions to ask yourself, but a very important one is:
Which country in the world has voted for 35 years for the same person to be president, given that the country is one of the poorest of Africa?
Starting with the last question; there is simply no democratic country in the world that voted for 35 years for the same president, even if it’s a rich country. According to Freedom House, an organisation that rates countries across the globe for amount of Freedom, Uganda scores 34/100; it is qualified as “Not free”.
Another fundamental question:
Why is Ugandan government organising elections at all?
Uganda doesn’t organise elections because Museveni believes in democratic elections. Museveni came to power through a war after he had lost elections. The book “How to rig an election” by Nic Cheeseman explains a lot of reasons why dictatorships organise elections. One is justification. Using elections they can justify their power.
When you are popular, then having elections does not cause any problems. But Museveni has lost a lot of support of Ugandans in recent years. And with the rise of Bobi Wine they found a favorite candidate of their own generation. Talking to Ugandans it was clear to me that Kyagulanyi had a lot of support; I rarely encountered a Museveni supporter. But as a scientist I know the danger of bias… [still typing]
CONDEMNATION OF THE CONTINUED PERSECUTION AND BRUTALIZATION OF KYAGULANYI SSENTAMU, NATIONAL UNITY PLATFORM AND MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC
At the time of this press release, flag-bearer of the National Unity Platform and Presidential Candidate Honourable Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has again again violently pepper-sprayed and illegally detained at the infamous Nalufenya ‘torture house’ in Jinja, and charged with breaching COVID guidelines.”
Honourable Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has been on a campaign trail for National Unity Platform for a week now, each one of his stops cleared with the relevant authorities beforehand. At every stop he has made since the unveiling of the manifesto in Mbarara, the state operatives have been trying to stop the general public from accessing him.
We have reports of Ugandans who have been shot by the Police, while others are in different hospitals nursing wounds inflicted on them by the same Police. We have witnessed increasingly violent efforts by Uganda Police Force and other units, intended to prevent Honourable Kyagulanyi from addressing the general public. In some areas he has been outright prevented from addressing the public, as was seen in Iganga a couple of days ago.
This is clearly an effort to stem the wave of support following our Principal as he makes his way about the country and can in no way be seen as the precursor to a free and fair election. This morning’s arrest took place on the campaign trail in Luuka, Eastern Uganda. Disturbing images have been captured of Uganda Police Force assaulting and arresting Ugandans for invoking their inalienable right to assembly, their right to freedom of political expression. In the protests that have sprung up in Kireka Market and other locations since Honourable Kyagulanyi’s arrest, people have been beaten, brutalised by Uganda Police Force. Reports of at least 5 deaths at the hands of the Police have reached us. From street vendors to politicians, Ugandans are not safe in the hands of those tasked to protect us.
We note with concern the unjustifiable silence of the East African Community, the African Union, the European Union, the Commonwealth as well as the US State Department and the United Nations. It is time for our partners in development to stand with the Ugandan voices seeking justice and a non-violent, democratic DIASPORA COMMUNICATIONS DESK PP/NUP Diaspora Communications Team E: email@example.com transition of power. Our hope is that their silence will not render them complicit in the Museveni regime’s many crimes against humanity. We, again, condemn the brutality visited by the Ugandan Police force on Ugandans. We, again, call upon on all individuals, bodies, media and governments around the world to not only condemn the actions of the regime, but to ACT in support of Uganda, her People and their rights.
We remind the dictator Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, that his days are numbered. We are not intimidated by his tyranny, and we will never be. We will continue to fight. We will be free of him. To our Brothers and Sisters fighting for our freedom in the streets, in the workplace, on social media – stay strong.
Uganda will be free. Resist!
Uganda Will Be Free.
+1 857 231-3739 [USA]