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The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 13th May 2021

Uganda's Museveni faces sanctions row

Blue Lines

A small group of regional leaders flew in to see President Yoweri Museveni's inauguration for his sixth term of office on 12 May following January's disputed general elections. 

After sanctions from the United States State Department and censure from the EU over suppression of oppositionists and voter intimidation, Museveni is trying a charm offensive. He has hired BTP Advisors to portray his regime as 'a stable democracy' in which judicial independence is jealously guarded, but rebuilding ties with the US and Europe will be a tough call despite Uganda's security role in regional conflicts, such as South Sudan and Somalia. European Parliament lawmakers want economic sanctions as well as travel restrictions.  

Museveni's allies are straining to restore the government's authority at home and abroad but few are listening. That was underscored by security agents surrounding the homes of Kizza Besigye and Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, as a 'preventative measure' before the inauguration.  

Rights campaigners and oppositionists are demanding the release of all activists and journalists and an independent investigation into charges of mass abductions, torture and killings by state security. This follows one of the country's most violent elections ever, starting with security forces shooting dead at least 54 people in November.