EXCEPT FOR MORE COPS, KAMPALA RETURNS TO NORMAL
--Two also-rans call for protests; NY Times stumbles on basic facts
MONDAY, THREE DAYS AFTER THE ELECTION—We finally got out and about today in Kampala. Pre-election fears of violence have made the last 3-4 days pretty anxious for many. However, everything seems to have returned to normal here. The only difference I saw today is a stronger police presence. Lots of cops seem to be deployed around town guarding trees, since the police I saw mostly seemed committed to lounging in the shade.
Two losing candidates, Olara Ottunu (1.6% of the vote) and Samuel Lubega (0.4%) today threatened to mobilize Egypt-style protests (AP). Seriously, these guys could barely muster 2% combined of the vote total, and they’re going to organize protests? Fantasy. The one opposition candidate with the most credibility to organize demonstrations, Kizza Besigye (2nd place, 26%), has complained that the election was corrupt and unfair, but has stopped short of calling for protests. The other losing candidate with some gravitas, Norbert Mao, is expected to make a statement Tuesday.
Meanwhile, let’s take the New York Times to task. In a Uganda election story today’s edition, reporter Josh Kron writes, “The streets of Kampala were quiet and calm on Sunday, with no celebrations of the president’s re-election.” Wrong. Hundreds (thousands?) of supporters of the winning NRM party took to the streets yesterday in impromptu parades. We saw the footage on two TV networks, and could even hear the honking and whistling in the distance from our apartment. Hey New York Times, if you can’t get little details like this right, how accurate is the rest of your international coverage?
Finally, congratulations to Uganda and Ugandans for pulling off a nearly violence-free election. I’m thrilled.