UGANDA’S SIMON BYABAKAMA SLEEPLESS AS US GOVT PUTS HIS TANZANIAN COUNTERPART UNDER KALE-LIKE SANCTIONS
By Mulengera Reporters
The EC Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama is understandably having sleepless nights while anticipating Gen Kale Kayihura-like sanctions being imposed on him after the US government doing the same on his fellow Judge Semistocles Kaijage who chairs the National Electoral Commission of Tanzania.
Saying as EC Chairman Kaijage connived with his country’s security chiefs to subvert democracy while brutalizing President John Pombe Magufuli’s opponents, some of whom have since fled to exile fearing for their lives, the outgoing US Secretary of State Micheal Pompeo says the EC Chairman, his Commissioners and security chiefs who participated in committing election irregularities to the detriment of the opposition and in service of the incumbent Magufuli are now subject to severe US visa/travel restrictions implying they won’t be able to freely travel to the US, Canada and potentially Western Europe anymore.
Pompeo says time has come to ensure that Electoral Commission officials in different countries who preside over elections in a manner that amounts to “undermining democracy and human rights violations” to individually suffer severe consequences imposable by the US, Canada and European partners.
Pompeo references on election observer reports which indicted the Tanzanian poll, returning Magufuli to office, as not free and fair. He also refers to the rampant arrest and harassment of Tanzanian opposition politicians, civil society leaders and journalists to justify his country’s conclusion that what President Magufuli won can’t be described to have been a free and fair election.
Like his colleagues do elsewhere in our banana republics, when cornered by such sanctions by Western powers, Justice Semistocles Kaijage, the big man of the Tanzanian EC, says the US sanctions are defective because of the vague nature of the vote-rigging claims being made against him. He demands that the Americans must clarify how he exactly subverted democracy so that he is enabled to know how to specifically respond to their allegations against him. He also wonders why the US should rely on preliminary observer reports to indict him as opposed to waiting for the final election observation reports.
The other equally affected Tanzanian officials have nervously claimed they are unbothered and are advising the State Department to officially write to them specifically rather than issuing generic media statements indicting every Tanzanian state official associated with the elections management. The Tanzanian government has also reminded the US government that the best those aggrieved opposition figures should do is to use the Tanzanian courts to have their grievances resolved as opposed to rushing or complaining to the US government.
Uganda’s Simon Byabakama has reason to be worried because many of the things (commissions and omissions) that his Tanzanian counterparts are being indicted for happened in the just concluded Uganda’s elections if not worse. Sources inside the EC, who actually are the ones who drew our attention to the Tanzanian situation, say that it’s not just Byabakama but even other EC Commissioners are equally nervous about the possibility of having what has befallen Justice Kaijage befalling them too.(For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).