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Ugandans Await Presidential Election Results

Results continue to trickle in from Uganda’s presidential elections. As of this writing, the country’s electoral commission has incumbent president Yoweri Museveni leading his main rival, Kizza Besigye, 60% to 36%. An unofficial vote count by Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper shows Mr. Museveni with a smaller lead of 51% to 45%. Besigye's party, the Forum for Democratic Change, has complained of election irregularities and says it may challenge the results in court. Final results are expected by Saturday.

Mathias Ikes is the press officer for the European Election Observer Mission in Uganda. In an interview with English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje, Ikes shared his overall assessment of the just-concluded presidential elections. “What we observed were a number of technical problems, including the opening of the ballots at polling stations, and missing names on electoral lists at various polling stations. But the people we spoke to on election day felt that they could make their choice in secret, and that they knew they had a choice between change and continuity in deciding the future of this country.”

The EU observer mission’s spokesman says regarding the conduct of the election, “There certainly was not a level playing field.” He says President Museveni and his party used state resources to their advantage, especially the state broadcasting media, to put out their message. Ikes says in addition, the challenger, Besigye, “was finding himself in court all the time, which hindered his ability to campaign as he would have liked to.” Ikes says, “The European observer team will continue to observe the counting and tabulation and any appeals procedure that may come up.”