News / Africa

    Uganda Opposition Gathers Evidence to Challenge Election Outcome

    Opposition leader Kizza Besigye speaks during a news conference at his home at the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 21, 2016.
    Opposition leader Kizza Besigye speaks during a news conference at his home at the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 21, 2016.
    Peter Clottey

    Uganda’s main opposition party says it's working hard to gather evidence to legally challenge the outcome of the February 18 general election.

    Uganda’s electoral law says challenges can be filed up to 10 days after results are announced. Mugisha Muntu, chairman of the Forum for Democratic Change, said the party was doing everything possible to meet the deadline, despite what he said had been continuous harassment and intimidation by state security operatives.  

    Muntu noted that the intimidation followed the frequent arrests and subsequent release of Kizza Besigye, the FDC presidential candidate.

    “We started gathering evidence on Saturday, right after we found out that there were huge discrepancies between what was being announced and what we’ve been gathering from our own polling stations," he said. Since then, he added, "our presidential candidate … has been taken to the police cells several times.”

    Muntu said security services had raided party offices and arrested data entry clerks, but "we are not deterred. We are continuing to gather evidence to be able to move in that direction [toward a challenge] once a decision is firmly made."

    Badru Kiggundu, the electoral commission chairman, declared incumbent Yoweri Museveni the winner of the presidential election with 60.07 percent of the votes cast, while Besigye was second with 35.37 percent.

    Kiggundu insisted the general election was credible, despite preliminary reports by local and international observers that the poll was neither free nor fair.

    “I don’t think he could have said anything else apart from that," Muntu said of Kiggundu. "Even as we moved towards the election day itself, you could see that the electoral commission chairman was partisan from the statements that he was making, from the actions that they carried out, and ultimately, from the evidence, which now is so visible.”

    A Ugandan riot policeman blocks the gate of the party headquarters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, shortly after raiding the premises for the second time in a week, in the capital Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 22, 2016.
    A Ugandan riot policeman blocks the gate of the party headquarters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, shortly after raiding the premises for the second time in a week, in the capital Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 22, 2016.

    Discrepancies alleged

    Muntu said initial evidence showed some of the poll results had been manipulated. He said results on the declaration forms signed by all party representatives, which show the results at the polling stations, were different from those the electoral commission announced.

    Opposition groups also accused the electoral commission of bias after voting in areas where they were strong — including the capital, Kampala — started about seven hours later than in areas where the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) had a strong following. The FDC said the delays were a deliberate attempt to suppress opposition votes.

    The electoral commission denied the accusation. It said the delays were regrettable but insisted that the results were credible, despite the logistical challenges.

    Some FDC supporters said they weren't confident that the party’s legal challenge would succeed, contending that the country’s judiciary is not independent. They also said the government could pressure judges to rule in its favor.

    “In our decision to eventually go to court, [judiciary independence] is also one of the factors that is being considered,” Muntu said.

    Supporters of the NRM said the opposition parties were sore losers. They said the opposition parties weren't complaining about parliamentary races in which they defeated government ministers but were challenging losses to Museveni in the same areas.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yorke
    February 26, 2016 1:28 AM
    Museveni is a dictator who will soon die like any other dictators. So why was he disguising as a liberator? His bad legacy will haunt him and his grand children.

    by: Ugandan always
    February 25, 2016 8:17 PM
    Let m7 do what he wants but GOD is watching him, and he will for it and all his family the all life
    In Response

    by: Mutete from: Mukolio
    February 27, 2016 11:55 PM
    Hahaha God is watching M7 what about you for telling lies. God watches over everybody. I can assure you empty drums make more noise.

    by: Anonymous
    February 25, 2016 1:06 PM
    All international and local actors and organizations should not support the Museveni government. It will be a failure without goodwill. How far will the regime greed take them? Oppression should not be allowed to thrive. The vote robbery was so blatant , those that care for Uganda's progress should reject a regime imposing itself on the people.

    by: ARINDA wilfred from: KABALE SOUTH WESTERN UGAN
    February 25, 2016 4:11 AM
    Thats what every ugandan is waiting for. ........NRM government in uganda has got nothing special thjis time for the ugandans. I remember during one campaign ,presdernt museveni of NRM promising in his manifesto to give " free pads" to school ladies ,an indicator that he has run shot of pledges. He, i remember promised to reduce the price of toilet users .....who pay shs200 in the city.....museveni has run shot of pledges.

    by: FRANCIS
    February 25, 2016 1:30 AM
    THATS UGANDA MY MOTHERLAND GIFTED BY NATURE BUT CURSED WITH GREEDY LEADERSHIP.
    In Response

    by: arinda wilfred from: kabale sout western ugand
    February 25, 2016 5:35 AM
    museveni's result end is leading our lovely uganda to disaster.

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