Neither Free Nor Fair? The Ugandan Elections of January 2021

Neither Free Nor Fair? The Ugandan Elections of January 2021
25 February 2021, 4.00pm - 6.00pm

On the eve of the Ugandan harmonized elections of 16th January 2021, the Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland issued a statement calling on all parties to respect the election process, and to abide by Commonwealth values of democracy and good governance. Unlike other elections in Commonwealth countries, the government of President Yoweri Museveni had not invited Commonwealth election observers, and since polling day, the ‘official’ Commonwealth has been remarkably silent in public. (Britain, the current chair in office, issued a condemnatory statement of the declared outcome of the poll.) The election campaign, polling day and its aftermath have been identified as fraught with fraudulent practices, violence and intimidation by the Ugandan security forces against opposition campaign teams and supporters, repression and co-option of the media, persistent harassment against Presidential contender and head of the National Unity Movement, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) culminating in his house arrest until the date of formal challenge to the election result under the Ugandan constitution, had passed.   

By bringing the audience up to date with developments in Uganda and continued violence and intimidation against the political opposition, this panel discussion will raise the important question, What more should the Commonwealth do to ensure its values are upheld?  

Event format 

: Dr Sue Onslow, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies 

Chair and moderator:

Roger Hearing (former BBC World Service and presenter of The World Today & Newshour; & broadcaster)

  • Mr Oryem Nyeko: Human Rights Watch Africa Division, Uganda and Tanzania Researcher  
  • Mr Jude Byamukama (Managing Partner, JByamukama & Co. Advocates, Kampala)  
  • Mr Bobi Wine (Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu) Ugandan MP and leader of the National Union Platform party. Candidate in the January 2021 presidential election.

Discussant: Dr Sue Onslow, Senior Research Fellow, ICWS  


Kremena Velinova
020 7664 4884