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Until now Western governments have backed the President as a regional security ally and ignored local political skulduggery
President Yoweri Museveni's decision to order the suspension of the European-funded Democratic Governance Facility risks further provoking the European Union into imposing sanctions against him.
Museveni claimed that the DGF – which supports the work of local NGOs focusing on democracy, human rights and transparency – had been 'used to finance activities and organisations designed to subvert Government under the guise of improving governance'.
The move is against a £100 million fund set up by a group of EU countries, the UK and the EU itself, which says it wants to see a country 'where citizens are empowered to engage in democratic governance and the state upholds citizens' rights.'
In the meantime, opposition leader Bobi Wine, freed from house arrest last week having been confined to his home compound since polling day on 14 January, continues to court Western diplomats while he attempts to take his campaign against Museveni's win in last month's disputed elections to the Supreme Court (AC Vol 62 No 2, Iron fist carries the day).
Following his latest meeting with EU diplomats in Kampala, Wine tweeted that he 'appreciated the EU for its role in fostering democracy', adding that 'we hope the friends of Uganda will support the citizens' call for accountability after a rigged election'.
For the moment, international diplomats are remaining circumspect in public, though criticism of Museveni is growing.
Natalie E. Brown, the United States ambassador in Kampala, last week cited 'deep and continuing concern about the extrajudicial detention of opposition political party members, the reported disappearance of several opposition supporters, and continued restrictions' on Wine and his National Unity Platform.
Wine and his party said earlier this week that around 3,000 of his supporters have been detained or abducted by state agents since November.
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