Uganda President Yoweri Museveni won a decisive victory in Saturday’s re-election, election officials said, but his main rival Bobi Wine claimed extensive fraud and said citizens should reject the result.
Museveni won 5.85 million votes, or 58.6%, while the largest opposition candidate Wine had 3.48 million votes (34.8%), the election commission said at a press conference on the final results of Thursday’s election.
Earlier, Wine accused Museveni of producing the results, calling the vote “the most fraudulent election in Uganda’s history”. In a telephone interview before the final results were announced, he urged citizens to reject the results.
Wine, a singer who became a legislator, also said that his home in the capital Kampala was surrounded by hundreds of soldiers and that the military did not allow him to leave.
The army’s deputy spokesman, Deo Akiiki, told Reuters that security officials at Win’s house were evaluating threats he could make by going out: “So they can prevent him in his own security interest.”
Soldiers and police were out patrolling Kampala on Saturday.
Museveni, 76 and in power for 35 years, fought for another term and argued for his long experience in office making him a good leader and promising to continue to deliver stability and progress.
Wine, 38, galvanized young Ugandans with his demands for political change and promised to end what he calls dictatorship and widespread corruption.
Vin, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said on Friday that he had video evidence of voting rights and would share the videos as soon as internet connections were restored. The government ordered that the internet be shut down the day before the election and the blackout was still in place.
The chairman of the Election Commission, Simon Byabakama, said on Friday that according to Ugandan law, the burden of proof rested with the wine.
Reuters has not independently verified Wines’ claims.
No international observers
The United States and the European Union did not deploy an observer team, but the US State Department’s top diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, said in a tweet early on Saturday that “the election process has been fundamentally flawed”.
He cited fraud, denial of accreditation by observers, violence and harassment by opposition members and the arrest of civil society activists.
The African Union and the East African Community sent teams of observers to the election, but no group of officials responded to requests for comment on any irregularities.
The police registered 42 election-related violations across the country during voting and voting so far, police spokesman Fred Enanga said on Friday night on local NBS TV. Violations included abuse, suffrage and theft and damage to election materials, he said.
The start of Thursday’s election was more violent than in previous polls. Security forces cracked down on opposition candidates and their supporters during the campaign, and more than 50 people died in protests in November on one of the many occasions when Wine was arrested.
In addition to the internet shutdown, the government on Tuesday banned all social media and messaging programs. Vin and his followers often used Facebook to broadcast live coverage of their campaign.
In the parliamentary elections, where the candidates competed for 529 seats, the results still came in, but Ugandan media reported that 56 candidates from the Wines National Unity Platform (NUP) had won their races, while the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), formerly the largest opposition party, has so far won 34 seats.
The country’s vice president, Edward Ssekandi, was one of a number of leading ruling party MPs who lost their seats, according to the broadcaster NTV Uganda.
The FDC won 35 seats in the 2016 election, but the NUP had no seats in the previous parliament – Wine was elected as independent and joined the party last year.