Uganda’s main opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), has rejected the outcome of the country's presidential election, saying it was neither free nor fair.
The chairman of the electoral commission, Badru Kiggundu, had declared incumbent President Yoweri Museveni winner of the presidential vote with 60.07 percent of the total votes cast while main challenger Kizza Besigye came in second with 35.37 percent.
But the chairman of the FDC, Mugisha Muntu, says the election was fraught with vote tampering and other voter irregularities aimed at ensuring Museveni’s re-election. The victory enables Museveni to extend his 30-year rule in the East African country.
Muntu says the presidential election results released by the electoral commission show the figures have been tampered with. But supporters of the governing party reject the accusations. They insist Museveni won a competitive election and that the accusations are marks of sore losers.
“I believe the chairperson of the commission should really know that the results he announced at the tally center at the national level are inconsistent with the results that were even declared by their own officials at the lower levels like at the polling stations. Because from the declaration forms that we have got from a number of areas, you see clear inconsistencies between the two,” said Muntu.
“We are trying to have a meeting still and determine the way forward and we will be communicating with our party supporters. One thing we can say for sure, which nothing is new to our party supporters, is that the elections have been fraudulent. Because we have been getting calls from people who were at the polling stations where results would be announced and at then hear at the national level different results being announced.”
Muntu says state security operatives made it difficult for the FDC to meet with presidential candidate Besigye to strategize on the party’s the next line of action. This after the party accused the police of placing Besigye under house arrest and preventing senior officials of the party to reach him.
Muntu said the security operatives used intimidation and harassment to suppress opposition votes as well as thwart efforts of the party to point out clear violations of the electoral process.
He says the opposition party is compiling evidence to show Ugandans as well as the poll observers that the elections were rigged in favor of Museveni.
“This morning we were in a meeting and we were arrested and we were released very late last night and this morning we attempted to have another meeting, but again we were not able to access the candidate today. However at the technical level, our tallying is still going on and we will surely come out with the results and the truth of the declaration forms that we would be able to offer as evidence,” said Muntu.
He says concerns raised by both local and international poll observer groups demonstrate that the elections were not transparent and credible. Muntu says the FDC leadership has been prevented by security operatives from visiting presidential candidate Kizza Besigye.
In a released statement, the European Union Poll monitoring groups said the elections were held in intimidating circumstances. Police had used tear gas and the opposition leader had been arrested.
“Yesterday, while the National Tally Center was announcing the preliminary results of the presidential polls and the political parties were still following tallying and collecting data from their agents in the field, the police stormed FDC’s party headquarters using tear gas and arrested the flag bearer, Kizza Besigye, and the party’s leadership,” read the EU statement.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanj, right, greets former Zambian President Rupiah Banda after a news conference held by Commonwealth Observers team in Kampala, Feb. 20, 2016. Obasanjo heads Commonwealth Observers and Banda heads the Electoral Inst
Uganda's electoral commission announces imcumbent President Yoweri Museveni the winner in Thursday's election.
Ugandan riot police stand close to dejected opposition supporters to prevent them from demonstrating, shortly after the election result was announced, in downtown Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.
A supporter of Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni celebrate as the electoral commission declared Yoweri Museveni the winner of the presidential election in capital Kampala, Feb. 20, 2016.
Ugandan police block the media and others from accessing opposition candidate Kizza Besigye, as he remains under house arrest at his home in Kasangati, outside Kampala, in Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.
An electoral worker delivers boxes to a district counting center in Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo gives observers a briefing in Kampala, noting numerous faults before and after voting, Feb. 20, 2016. He said the group's final report will be released later.
Lidya Wanyoto, a representative of ruling party National Resistance Movement, is pleased with the results, Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 20, 2016.