KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) – Uganda’s electoral commission says longtime chairman Yoweri Museveni has won a sixth term as main opposition opponent Bobi Wine alleges the rigging and officials struggle to explain how poll results were compiled in the midst of an internet outage.
In a generational clash widely seen across the African continent, with a burgeoning young population and a host of aging leaders, the 38-year-old singer-turned-lawmaker Wine has arguably posed the biggest challenge yet for Museveni. It was strongly supported in urban centers where frustration with unemployment and corruption is high.
The election commission said Museveni received 58% of the vote and Wine 34%, and the turnout was 52%.
America’s top diplomat in Africa called the electoral process “fundamentally flawed”.
Thursday’s vote followed the worst pre-election violence in the East African country since Museveni, 76, took office in 1986. Wine and other opposition candidates often have were harassed, and more than 50 people were killed when security forces quelled the November riots. Wine’s arrest. Wine petitioned the International Criminal Court this month over allegations of torture and other abuses by security forces.
While the president retains power, at least 15 of his ministers, including the vice president, were dismissed, many losing to candidates from the Wine party, local media reported.
Wine claimed victory on Friday, saying he had video evidence of vote-rigging and saying “all legal options are on the table” to challenge the official election results, including peaceful protests. Candidates can challenge election results in the Supreme Court.
Hours later, he tweeted that the military had entered his compound and that “we are in serious trouble”, which a military spokesperson denied. Wine, real name Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was repeatedly beaten up and arrested during his campaign, but was never convicted.He ultimately campaigned with a bulletproof jacket and said he feared for his life.
A strong security force presence remained around his home, where he said he was alone with his wife and only one security guard.
Uganda’s electoral commission said Wine would have to prove his allegations of rigging, and it deflected questions about how the results of the nationwide vote were transmitted during the internet blackout by saying: “We have designed our own system ”. He couldn’t explain how it worked.
Control of the vote was further complicated by the arrests of independent observers and the denial of accreditation to so many members of the US observer mission that the US canceled. Another leading observer, the European Union, said its offer to deploy electoral experts “had not been accepted”.
“The Ugandan electoral process has been fundamentally flawed,” tweeted the top US diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy on Saturday, calling for the immediate and full restoration of internet access and warning that “the US response depends on what the Ugandan government is doing now ”.
Museveni, once hailed as part of a new generation of African leaders, still has the support of some in Uganda to bring stability. A long-time US security ally, he has previously criticized African leaders who refused to step down but have since overseen the removal of term limits and an age limit for the presidency.
The head of the African Union observer team, Samuel Azuu Fonkam, told reporters he could not say whether the election was free and fair, noting the AU’s “limited” mission which largely focused on the capital, Kampala. When asked about Wine’s allegations of rigging, he …
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