Monday, 21 February 2011

Museveni re-elected as opposition cries foul

By Barbara Among and Milton Olupot

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni, the flag-bearer of the National Resistance Movement party, was yesterday declared the winner of the February 18, 2011 presidential election.

The Electoral Commission chairman, Badru Kiggundu, declared Museveni the winner at Namboole stadium at 4:26pm before journalists and election observers.

Museveni polled 68.3% of the votes cast, while his closest rival, Col. Kizza Besigye, of the Forum for Democratic Change, got 26% of the 8,272,760 votes cast.

This means that Museveni’s support rose by 10% compared to his score in the 2006 presidential election when he secured 59.2%.Besigye scored 37.3% of the votes in 2006, which means his support has dropped by 11%.

In terms of actual votes, Museveni’s votes went up by over one million from 4.1m in 2006 to over 5.4m in 2011 polls. On the other hand, Besigye’s votes dropped from 2.6m in 2006 to slightly over 2m this year.

Museveni also received more votes during this election than what he got in 2001 when he garnered 5.1million votes. But Besigye’s votes dropped to almost the same amount he polled in the 2001, where he had 27.7% of the votes.

According to the results released by the commission yesterday, President Museveni won in all regions receiving 62.7% of the votes in central, 68.2% in eastern; 56.9% in northern and 80% in western. On the other hand, Besigye polled 31.7% in central; 28% in eastern; 26% in northern and 18% in western.

The UPC flag-bearer scored 7.2% in northern Uganda, beating Norbert Mao, who got 6.4% in the region. But Mao got 2.3% of the votes in central region, surprisingly beating Beti Kamya, who got 1.5%, as well as Bidandi Ssali, Abed Bwanika and Samuel Lubega, who each got less than one percent in their home regions. Kamya campaigned on a platform of federalism.

Besigye yesterday rejected the results, alleging fraud in the electoral process.

Out of the 13,954,129 registered voters, 8,272,760 voted, translating to 59.29% of registered voters.

The commission released results from 23,856 polling stations out of a total of 23,968. In 2006, the voter turnout stood at slightly over 69%.

Though the 2011 campaigns were largely peaceful, isolated incidences of violence were registered in the eastern districts of Mbale and the West Nile district of Arua.

Speaking to journalists after announcing the results, Kiggundu called upon the candidates who lost in the elections to concede defeat. He asked Ugandans to remain calm.

The commission said the process was free and fair and asked those with complaints to register them.

Kiggundu said the commission could have made some mistakes in the process but added that the mistakes did not affect the results.

He said it was good that Besigye had not declared his own results as he had planned to do. He reiterated that only the commission was mandated by law to ascertain and declare the results.

On display of ticked ballot papers by Besigye at a press conference on Saturday, Kiggundu said: “This is not the first time he is doing that. This time around the security agency will take him on and ask him to explain where he got them from.”

The commission denied allegations of rigging but promised to look into grievances raised by the election observers.

Present at the announcement was the Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, who warned the public against riots, saying “the iron arm of the law will deal with them.”

“Wherever there are any grievances, there is a procedure in place provided by the Constitution for addressing such. If anybody does not abide by the law, the full force of the law will came down upon them,” he added.