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The BBC's Julian Marshall
"The celebrations were marred by two bomb explosions"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 14 March, 2001, 19:56 GMT
Violence 'marring' Uganda poll
campaign posters
President Museveni faces a strong challenge
US-based organisation Human Rights Watch warned before the election in Uganda that violence and intimidation could undermine its credibility.

It said in a report that there was evidence of efforts by the Ugandan Government to manipulate the elections.

An official also accused the government of President Museveni of "bullying the opposition".

Uganda's army commander, had just been appointed as head of a task force set up to oversee internal security for the elections.


I am certainly not intending to intimidate anyone

Task force head Major General Jeje Odongo
Major General Jeje Odongo said that the task force was made up of representatives from the police, millitary and intelligence services.

"All the security agencies have come together to prevent pre-election violence, violence during the election and post-election violence, " he told our Uganda correspondent Anna Borzello.

Complaints

Police received more than 100 complaints of campaign related crime. Many were minor misdemeanours like defacing posters, but some include allegations of murder and kidnap.

Main challenger Kizza Besigye alleges intimidation
Main challenger Kizza Besigye alleges intimidation
One man was killed and eight others injured in the western Ugandan town of Rukungirie, when the army's Presidential Protection Unit shot at supporters of Dr Kizza Besigye, President Yoweri Museveni's principle challenger.

General Odongo said that the Task Force had information that Mr Museveni's opponents were planning violence if their candidate did not win.

This, he said, included looting in Kampala.

He also referred to statements made by two Besigye campaigners - the ex-mayor of Kampala, Nasser Sebegala and MP Ken Lukyamuzi.

Both men have been charged with incitement to violence after allegedly telling a crowd to cut with machetes any foreigners found voting on polling day.

Controversy

The issue of maintaining security during the campaigns was controversial, with Mr Museveni's opponents saying he used the security forces to intimidate his rivals.

In the most notorious case so far, military police violently arrested and allegedly tortured Besigye's Youth campaigner, MP Major Okwir Rabwoni - who has since fled to the United Kingdom.

However, General Odongo said the task force would not be one-sided.

He said: I am certainly not intending to intimidate anyone. But it is the duty of the state to make sure all citizens are secure and free to express their will."

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See also:

23 Feb 01 | Africa
Ugandan opposition 'intimidated'
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