Museveni wins Ugandan election to tighten grip on power
Incumbent Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has been declared winner of the 2016 Presidential elections to maintain his grip on power in East Africa’s third largest economy amid concerns of electoral irregularities raised by both election observers and the opposition.
President Museveni won a fifth term of Office after trouncing his long term political rival and main opposition candidate Dr Col Kizza Besigye by over two million votes in the highly contested and controversial election.
Announcing the results at the national Tally Centre at Namboole a Kampala suburb, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission Engineer Dr Badru Kiggundu, declared the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni winner with 5,617,503 votes representing 60.75% against Dr Col Kizza Besigye’s 3,270,290 votes representing a 35.37%. Former Premier John Patrick Amama Mbabazi was a distant third with 132,574 votes representing 1.43%.
Three time President Candidate Abed Bwanika came fourth with 86075 votes representing a 0.93%.Others were Professor Venacious Baryamureeba with 51086 votes representing a 0.55%, Benon Buta Biraro with 24675 votes representing a 0.27%, Elton Joseph Mabirizi with 23762 votes representing 0.26% and Maureen Kyalya Walube , the only woman in the race with 40598 votes representing a 0.44%. The total number of valid votes was 9,246,563 while the total number of votes cast were 9,701,737 representing a 63.5%.
“Having obtained the highest number of votes cast in his favour , being more 50% votes , the commission declares Yoweri Kaguta Museveni elected President of the republic of Uganda,” Kiggundu announced.
However earlier in the day the leader of the EU election Observation Mission , Eduard Kukan told reporters in the capital Kampala that the lack of transparency and independence of the electoral commission undermined the elections while state actors especially security agencies created an intimidating atmosphere for both the voters and candidates alike.
In its report, the Human Rights Watch also said that in the run –up to the polls, it had documented barriers to Ugandans’ ability to exercise fundamental human rights such as free expression , assembly and association , as well as the often excessive use of force by security forces and threats to the media.
“Many of the abuses that we have documented over the years in Uganda were on full display this week, but with so many eyes following #UgandaDecides on Twitter, there was no hiding the brutality,” said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“The next few days will be critical, as people will surely scrutinize the election process. Security forces should respect peaceful protest and use only proportionate force in response to any confrontations,” she added.
But the head of the campaign and publicity team of President t Yoweri Museveni, Mike Sebalu said that the outcome of the elections reflected the will of the people and urged the defeated candidates to accept defeat or seek legal redress in courts of law if they have any grievances.