Uganda rights group receives hundreds of complaints from women about vote

The Thomson Reuters Foundation

A heavily armed military policeman patrols next to burning barricades set up by angry supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, near to his party headquarters, in Kampala, Uganda, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. Police in Uganda arrested opposition leader Kizza Besigye at his party's headquarters Friday after heavily armed police surrounded the building and fired tear gas and stun grenades at his supporters who took to the streets. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A heavily armed military policeman patrols next to burning barricades set up by angry supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, near to his party headquarters, in Kampala, Uganda, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. Police in Uganda arrested opposition leader Kizza Besigye at his party’s headquarters Friday after heavily armed police surrounded the building and fired tear gas and stun grenades at his supporters who took to the streets. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

KAMPALA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A control center set up in Uganda to monitor violence against women and other obstacles preventing women from voting in last week’s presidential election said it had received nearly 600 complaints.

Delays to the opening of polls in the Feb. 18 vote was the main complaint received by the Women’s Situation Room, and most of those reports were in and around the capital, Kampala, said Jessica Nkuuhe, the center’s national coordinator.

“The delays turned off most women from exercising their rights to vote,” Nkuuhe told Thomson Reuters Foundation after the election.

“As the delays continued, more women left the voting queues to return home and attend to their domestic duties.”

Voters complained of delays in delivery of ballot materials on Thursday, especially in areas seen as opposition strongholds. The government also shut down social media sites as voters cast their ballots under the gaze of police and soldiers in riot gear.

On Saturday, Museveni, 71, and in power for 30 years, was declared winner of the vote.

The election has been marred by sporadic violence and opposition allegations of electoral fraud.

The EU observer mission said it had been conducted in an “intimidating” atmosphere, and the United States has voiced concerns about the frequent arrests of opposition leader Kizza Besigye.

(Reporting by Yasin Kakande, Editing by Ros Russell)

 

Source: http://www.reuters.com

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