Yoweri Museveni announced poll winner, extends 30 year rule
National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate Yoweri Museveni will extend his 30-year rule after Uganda’s poll body declared him the winner of the presidential poll.
Museveni garnered with 5,971,872 votes (60.62 per cent) while his main challenger, Forum for Democratic Change contender (FDC) candidate Kizza Besigye came in second after garnering 3,508,687 votes translating to 35.61 per cent.
Amama Mbabazi came in third with 136,519 votes and he was followed by Abed Bwanika (89,005), Baryamureeba Venansius (52,798), Buta Biraaro (25,600) and Mabirizi Joseph (24,498) while Maureen Kyalya got 42,833.
Ugandans went to the polls on Thursday, February 18. Voters were to cast their ballots from 7:00am to 4:00pm in voting centres across the country, however the exercise was marred by numerous delays and logistical challenges.
Even as poll results trickled in, opposition leaders tabled concerns about the fairness of the electoral process. Led by party president Maj. Gen. Mugisha, FDC’s leadership rejected the poll results.
“I call upon all Ugandans and the international community to reject and condemn the fraud that has been committed and to expose it to the fullest extent possible,” read the FDC statement.
Conflicting reports by poll observers
Addressing members of the press prior to the results announcement, European Union (EU) poll observers expressed concern over the independence of the Ugandan Electoral Commission (EC) and the fairness of the poll process.
“The lack of transparency and independence of the Electoral Commission (EC), and its markedly late delivery of voting material on election day to several districts considered opposition strongholds – most notably in Kampala, decreased the opportunity for voters to cast their ballots.
The Head of EU delegation Jo Leinen decried the harassment and intimidation of the opposition, citing the numerous arrests of FDC’s Besigye. He also noted that there were cases of voter bribery and voter intimidation.
“National Resistance Movement’s (NRM’s) domination of the political landscape distorted the fairness of the campaign and state actors were instrumental in creating an intimidating atmosphere for both voters and candidates,” read the statement in part.
In their preliminary report, EU poll observers noted that the opposition –particularly Besigye’s FDC – was harassed by state bodies.
“Intimidation and harassment of opposition by police and law enforcement bodies, as well as arrests of supporters and voters were reported from more than 20 districts. Opposition candidates’ ability to campaign freely was restricted on several instances during the campaign period,” read the report in part.
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and African Union poll observers disagreed with the EC verdict, adding that the elections were credible, free and fair.
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