Uganda’s electoral commission has declared incumbent Yoweri Museveni the winner of the country’s presidential election, extending his 35-year rule as his main rival Bobi Wine alleged fraud and urged citizens to reject the result.
Museveni secured 5.85 million votes, or 58.64 percent, of the total votes cast, while main opposition candidate Bobi Wine won 3.48 million votes or 34.83 percent, the commission said in a televised news conference on Saturday. Voter turnout was 52 percent.
“The electoral commission declares Yoweri Museveni … elected president of the republic of Uganda,” said Chairman Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama.
Meanwhile, Bobi Wine’s representative Benjamin Katana has described the announcement as “an attempt to undermine the will of the people in Uganda”.
“The legal framework in Uganda gives us a number of opportunities and options to which we can contest this unfair process and going through the Supreme Court is one of the options,” Katana added. “We ask the people of Uganda to stand firm and work with us to explore all the options … to make sure that we stop this coup,” he told Al Jazeera shortly after.
The results were announced as Bobi Wine was under heavy guard at his home on the outskirts of the capital, Kampala, with his party saying he was under “effective house arrest” and the government saying it was merely providing him with security.
They also followed one of the bloodiest campaigns in years, with harassment and detentions of opposition figures, attacks on the media, and the deaths of at least 54 people in protests in November, on one of the multiple occasions when Bobi Wine was arrested.
Security personnel and police were out in force patrolling Kampala on Saturday. The government ordered the internet shut down the day before the election, and the blackout was still in place.
Bobi Wine, a singer-turned-lawmaker whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said on Friday he had video proof of voting fraud and would share the videos as soon as internet connections were restored. He accused Museveni of fabricating the results and called the poll “the most fraudulent election in the history of Uganda”.
Byabakama said under Ugandan law, the burden of proof rested with Bobi Wine. The commission has deflected questions about how countrywide voting results were transmitted during the internet blackout by saying “we designed our own system.” It could not explain how it worked.
“The entire process has been conducted in [the] dark and it lacks transparency,” Katana, head agent of Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform, told Al Jazeera from the tally centre in Kampala. “From the beginning, we were assured by the electoral commission that each candidate or their agents will receive copies of the results from the districts before they are transmitted to the national tally centre, so we are able to verify when they are reading here – and that was not done.”