[JURIST] Human Rights Watch has accused Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [BBC profile] of "playing dirty tricks" to intimidate voters in the upcoming elections on Feb. 23. Principal opposition leader Kizza Besigye [JURIST news archive] is facing criminal charges in civil and military courts for treason, rape and terrorism. In a new report [text], HRW claims that military personnel in Northern Uganda are threatening to leave civilians open to attacks by rebel groups if the President Museveni is not reelected.
This election is the first since 2001 for the former British colony. The ruling National Resistance Movement-Organization (NRM-O) [US affiliated website] came to power through an armed struggle led by President Museveni two decades ago. Uganda has since been a de facto one-party state, and this is the first election in which more than one party has fielded candidates. If no candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote a runoff election will be held. The Commonwealth, the EU, the African Union, East African Community are all sending observers to monitor the elections. Reuters has more.