US Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden smiles as he speaks during a campaign event at the William "Hicks" Anderson Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware on July 28, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The UPND welcomes the US rejection of Yoweri Museveni’s rigged January 14 2021 Presidential elections, and imposition of Visa travel sanctions on those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in undermining the democratic process in Uganda, including the country’s January 14 general elections, and the campaign period that preceded it. The persecution of the main opposition leader Bobi Wine, the ruthless violence against his supporters, the shut down of the internet during the electoral period, and numerous other injustices by the Museveni regime did not go unnoticed by the US Government.

We are encouraged and inspired by the decision taken by the US Administration against the Ugandan dictatorship, for it sends a clear message to those dictators, who like Museveni believe they can fraudulently continue to stay in power through rigged elections. We commend the US decision because it is a warning to dictators that violations of human rights and disrespect for the rule of law shall no longer be tolerated or taken lying down, in a democratic and civilised world. It is an indictment to those dictators, who thrive on persecution of opponents, falsehoods, political violence, and intimidation; and a crystal clear message that such dictators shall bear the consequences of their impunity.

We in the UPND are breathing a sigh of relief, that once again the United States of America under the Joe Biden Administration is beginning to take its rightful place as a key player on the global scene against abuse of power and lawlessness. This is as it should be, for unless clear messages are sent, and action taken against those who thrive on gross human rights violations, disrespect for the rule of law, and persecution of opponents, they will continue to do so with impunity.

For Zambia this is a timely warning as we go through the current electoral period leading to the 12 August 2021 general elections, that the violence, intimidation, human rights violations and abuse of the law which characterised the 2016 electoral period, must not be allowed to show their ugly heads ever again. It is a stern warning that the killings, such as those of Grazier Matapa, Mapenzi Chibulo, and others who lost their lives or got maimed during the electoral period for simply exercising their democratic rights, shall no longer go unchecked.
We are however mindful that unless the international community stands together to speak with one voice, decisions such as taken by the US Administration against the Ugandan dictatorship, shall have challenges in achieving the intended full effect.

We therefore take this opportunity to call upon the rest of the international community to join the US and speak with one voice against electoral fraud and human rights violations, which have accompanied, not only the Ugandan elections, but several other elections on the African continent.

Specifically, as Zambia advances through the current electoral process towards August 12, we call upon the international community to speak with one voice, and to provide the required support to ensure that the electoral process is free and fair, for the sake of peace and stability in the country. The continued persecution of the leading Presidential contender and UPND leader, Hakainde Hichilema by the ruling PF regime must stop, while a repeat of the activities that led to the highly contested 2016 general elections and ensuing post electoral crisis, must be equally prevented at all costs.
Rose Sakala
Chairperson International Relations


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