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Africa News of Sunday, 17 January 2021


Uganda elections: Museveni’s win pushes his rule to four decades

The Uganda Electoral Commission on Saturday declared incumbent President Yoweri Museveni winner of the election, granting him a sixth successive term in office.

Mr Museveni, according to EC chairman Simon Byabakama, garnered 5,851,037 votes (58.64 per cent) while his leading challenger Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, polled 3,475,298 votes (34.83 per cent).

“I declare candidate Yoweri Museveni Tibuhaburwa, the next president of the Republic of Uganda, having obtained the highest number of votes in the election held on January 14,” Justice Byabakama said.

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Amuriat Oboi polled 323,536 votes (3.24 per cent) while each of the other candidates attracted less than a percentage point.

Alliance for National Transformation’s Mugisha Muntu got 65,334 (0.65 per cent), Democratic Party’s Norbert Mao 55,665 (0.56 per cent) and independent candidates Joseph Kabuleta 44,300 (0.44 per cent), Nancy Kalembe 37,469 (0.38 per cent), John Katumba 35,983 (0.36 per cent) Willy Mayambala 14,657 (0.15 per cent), Fred Mwesigye got 24,673 (0.25 per cent) and Henry Tumukunde 50,141 (0.50 per cent).

Ms Kalembe was the only female candidate in the race.

Registered voters numbered 18,103,603 while the total number of votes cast as 10,359, 479. There were 9,978,093 valid votes and 381,386 invalid votes.

Wine's rejection

However, Mr Kyagulanyi, in an earlier address to the media, disputed the results of the election that the EC had declared, saying there had been rigging.

“This morning, as you have all been hearing from the provisional results of the EC, you have seen that Mr Museveni has been given 63.92 per cent while we have been given 28.32 per cent. We reject these results because we have seen the rigging pattern even from the time we were campaigning,” Mr Kyagulanyi said on Friday.

He added: “Many of my agents in most districts in the west and north, especially West Nile, were arrested and the EC has concentrated on reading results from districts that they can easily rig. They are not announcing results from districts of the central region and the eastern where we have overwhelming support. We believe we have a comfortable win over Museveni in this election.”

Mr Kyagulanyi further said the switching off of Internet, the blocking of election observers from the international community and the deportation of journalists from other countries were big signs that the authorities were keen to do everything in the dark.

Commission's response

Responding to the allegation, Justice Byabakama said: “In law we say the burden is on he who asserts to establish the facts, so the onus is on Hon Kyagulanyi to prove (the allegations). First of all, the polling ended yesterday and the results being displayed here were captured at the polling stations where every candidate had agents. "

He went on, "The law requires us to give an agent of each candidate a copy of the declaration form. It is not an option by the Electoral Commission but a command by the law. Now, therefore, since Hon Kyagulanyi is in possession of declaration forms of the 34,684 polling stations, let him show the country how the results have been rigged. I do not, therefore, appreciate the assertion that these results we are reading out here have been rigged.”

Mr Byabakama announced the results without indicating where they had been drawn from, prompting questions from journalists as to why the Electoral Commission had made no effort to break down the number.

The issue of results declaration forms has been touchy over many rounds of elections, with President Museveni’s opponents alleging that their candidates are either arrested or denied copies of the forms, making it impossible for the Opposition to ascertain their true results.

Besigye's views

Each presidential election organised under President Museveni since 1996, like the ones before he took power, has been disputed by the losing candidates.

Even within the opposition, there was unanimity that there was no chance that Mr Museveni was going to be ousted through the ballot box.

“None of the 10 contestants will be announced president,” retired col Dr Kizza Besigye, who tried to wrest power from Mr Museveni via the ballot box a record four times, candidly predicted last year.

“The reality is, Mr Museveni is just a nominated candidate like John Katumba and Nancy Kalembe but he simply cannot humble himself to become a candidate. He is the Electoral Commission and everything,” Dr Besigye told NTV.

Indeed, Dr Besigye’s decision not to stand in this year's election was informed by the conclusion that Mr Museveni couldn’t be uprooted from power through an election organised by the current electoral body that he selects.

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the party to which Dr Besigye subscribes, has on its social media platforms ridiculed the entire process, saying: “This year’s ‘selection’ misinterpreted for an election is a continuous demonstration to dictator Museveni that he is only living on borrowed time and will surely be evacuated.”

The feeling within the ruling party (NRM) and in the opposition is that having secured the victory on January 14, it could turn out to be his last term.

Officially, Mr Museveni is 76 years old, meaning if he completes the next term, he will be 81.

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