Friday, 19 February 2016

GOTCHA: Journalist teases State Department Spokesman on Besigye

This is statement from the US DEPARTMENT OF STATE Daily Press Briefing late yesterday Thursday, by Spokesperson John Kirby

Finally on Uganda and the elections today, Ugandans head to the polls to elect their president. The United States condemns the detention of opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye while voting and tallying is going on. Such an action calls into question Uganda’s commitment to a transparent and free election process, free from intimidation. The United States is concerned also by the late opening of many polling stations as well as the Government of Uganda’s decision to block several popular social media and mobile money sites here on election day. We continue to urge government authorities as well as all political parties and their supporters to refrain from further acts or rhetoric that may lead to more unrest or claim any more lives.

With that, Matt.

QUESTION: Were you aware that Mr. Besigye has actually been released or --

MR KIRBY: No, I have not gotten that report.

QUESTION: Okay. But so you still condemn --

MR KIRBY: Are you saying --

QUESTION: He was briefly – well, he was briefly detained.

MR KIRBY: I have not seen those reports, but --

QUESTION: He was taken into custody, but --

MR KIRBY: -- by the time I came out here, as far as I know, he was still detained.

QUESTION: Okay. But no matter whether --

MR KIRBY: It doesn’t excuse the detention --


MR KIRBY: -- one way or the other.



STATE DEPARTMENT press briefing Friday, February 19

Today's Press Briefing By State Dept. Deputy Spokesman Mark C. Toner - Washington DC, 

QUESTION: In his call with President Museveni of Uganda --
MR TONER: Yeah, yeah.
QUESTION: -- this morning, did the Secretary say that there would be any kind of consequences if the situation surrounding the election and the treatment of the opposition didn’t improve? Or did he warn that there might be?
MR TONER: I’m not sure that he has actually said that we said there’d be any consequences other than we obviously always retain the option to take steps if we --
MR TONER: -- if we see a lack of progress or clearly efforts to impede free and fair elections.
QUESTION: Yeah. Did he --
MR TONER: I think the Secretary was very frank with – sorry, just – with President Museveni about our concerns that detention – steps like the detention of the opposition presidential candidate, which is clearly a significant step, but polling stations opening late, other things we’ve seen on the ground lead us to have the concerns about the fact that whether these elections are free and fair.
QUESTION: Right, but do you know if he actually told the president that there – or said that there were – that this kind of – these kind of actions could draw a – could result in consequences from --
QUESTION: -- from the United States? Did he specifically say that, do you know?
MR TONER: I don’t know if he specifically raised that. I’ll – what I can say is that any further actions on our part will depend on the actions of the election and the government officials in Uganda over the next few days.


STATE DEPARTMENT press STATEMENT Saturday, February 20th

Kerry calls Museveni, Ugandan president explains situation under control - Friday 19th

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