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Violence threatens Uganda election

The murder of a prominent Democratic Party candidate in Uganda this week is evidence that election violence continues unabated in that battered East African country.

The violence helps explain the pressure that is being put on the military commission government of Uganda to postpone the nationwide election date, set for Sept. 30.

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This pressure is coming from Uganda itself, where the belief is growing that, in the circumstances, Sept. 30 is unrealistic, and form the British government and the Commonwealth secretariat, which has been asked to help with the election machinery. (The Commonwealth has been asked to send observers.)

Members of the Democratic Party, the main opponent of Dr. Milton Obote's Uganda Peoples' Congress (UPC), said after the murder that "harassment and intimidation will impair the election if not brought under control."

The murdered candidate was Leonard Mugwanya, who was shot dead when gunmen demanded his car and his money. The Ugandan capital city of Kampala has been terrified by raids by men in military uniforms. A Kampala newspaper says that 300 families have evacuated their homes in Kampala suburbs after a wave of nighttime shooting and violence. Some are camping in the bush outside the city.

The Uganda government has asked Britain and the Commonwealth secretariat for trucks, typwriters, and other equipment for the election. But the British doubt the election is feasible only a month hence. There are reports that constituencies have still not been demarcated and that the voters' roll has not been completed.

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