World Tour – Elections in Uganda, and snow in Spain

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Uganda prepares to hold elections—We begin today here in Africa.

Uganda is preparing to hold presidential elections tomorrow. Observers with the Eastern Africa Standby Force have urged the government to respect the rule of law.

WINE: I insist on the respect of the rule of law, of the democracy and the citizenship and one man for one vote. And we are in confidence that all will be well.

President Yoweri Museveni has held power since 1986 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. Opponents accuse him of trying to influence the election by using government forces to intimidate challengers.

Opposition leader Bobi Wine has faced some of the strongest government action. His arrest in November for holding a rally in violation of pandemic restrictions prompted days of protests. At least 54 people died. Security forces have arrested dozens of his campaign staffers.

WINE: We call for the immediate release of our comrades that are being detained in a military prison. We call upon all human rights institutions to raise their voices.

Other opposition candidates have faced similar intimidation. A spokeswoman for the United Nations said it had received complaints of arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture.

SPOKESWOMAN: We call on the Ugandan authorities to protect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and to ensure a free and peaceful election process that guarantees the right of the people of Uganda to participate in their country’s public affairs, including by taking measures to prevent instances of electoral violence.

About 18 million people are registered to vote in tomorrow’s election.

U.S. designates Houthis a terror group—Next we go to the Middle East.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Arabic]

A spokesman for the Houthi-led government in Yemen has accused the United States of undermining attempts to end the country’s civil war.

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced plans to designate the Iran-backed rebel group as a terrorist organization. That could discourage aid groups from working with the Houthis, who control much of the country.

Pompeo insisted the State Department would work to reduce the impact on humanitarian work and imports of food and medicine into Yemen. He said it is the Houthis, not the United States, standing in the way of peace.

The internationally recognized Yemeni government welcomed the designation, saying the Houthis had created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Airline crash in Indonesia—Next to Southeast Asia.

AUDIO: [Sound of divers underwater]

Underwater search teams in Indonesia have recovered one of the black boxes from a passenger plane that crashed over the weekend. They hope the flight data recorder will shed light on why the Boeing 737 plunged into the sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on Saturday.

Based on the debris field, investigators believe the plane broke up when it hit the water and did not explode in midair. It had 62 people on board, and search teams have found no signs of survivors.

Record-breaking snow cripples Spain—And finally, we end today in Europe.

AUDIO: [Man speaking Spanish]

Spanish officials urged people to stay home and stay warm after a major storm dumped up to 8 inches of snow on Madrid over the weekend. It was the heaviest snowfall in the city since 1971. The blizzard dropped as much as 20 inches of snow in some areas.

The record snowfall complicated efforts to distribute the coronavirus vaccine and temporarily blocked access to regional hospitals.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

(AP Photo/Ronald Kabuubi, File) In this Friday, March 27, 2020 file photo, Ugandan musician, lawmaker and presidential aspirant Bobi Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, speaks to The Associated Press in Kampala, Uganda.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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