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Uganda Opposition Leader Urges Independent Inquiry Into Election


Opposition leader and presidential candidate Kizza Besigye speaks to the media while under continued house arrest, at his home in Kasangati, outside the capital Kampala, in Uganda, Feb. 21, 2016.

Uganda’s main opposition leader has called for an independent audit of the general election that saw President Yoweri Museveni remain in power.

In an interview with VOA, Kizza Besigye, leader of the Forum for Democratic Change, said he remains in “illegal” detention in his home and insists the results announced by the electoral commission were not credible.

Besigye said throughout the election process the government used state institutions, including the police and the army, to commit illegal acts, including intimidation and harassment of opposition supporters and opponents of President Museveni and his ruling National Resistance Movement party.

Vote totals

The electoral commission declared incumbent Museveni winner of the presidential vote with 60.07 percent of the total vote cast, while Besigye came in second with 35.37 percent.

FILE - Uganda's incumbent President Yoweri Museveni speaks to the media soon after casting his vote at a polling station during the presidential elections in Kirihura, in western Uganda, Feb. 18, 2016.
FILE - Uganda's incumbent President Yoweri Museveni speaks to the media soon after casting his vote at a polling station during the presidential elections in Kirihura, in western Uganda, Feb. 18, 2016.

Besigye alleged the government has thwarted efforts of the opposition party to collate evidence of voter irregularities the FDC plans to use to legally challenge the outcome of the elections.

“We were detained at a police station, we were brought forcefully back home, and since that time I have not been allowed to move out of my home, and people are not allowed to come inside the home either,” Besigye said.

“What prompted our arrest was because we were preparing to address the media on the gross discrepancies between what the electoral commission was announcing and what the polling stations have announced at those stations. So the electoral commission was engaged in announcing some [fictitious] results and that is what we wanted to expose, when the police invaded our party headquarters, arrested us violently and took over our headquarters and removed the documents that we had at the headquarters," he added.

Police statement

The Ugandan police issued a statement accusing Besigye and his supporters of attacking a police station used to ensure a peaceful environment.

This came after Besigye and some reporters went to a police station that they said they suspected of being used to manipulate the election.

But the police said it was illegal for Besigye and the reporters to storm the police station. Besigye denied violating any laws.

Besigye called on his supporters to demonstrate as a way to put pressure on the administration to remove the police and other security operatives, who he says have restricted his movements.

WATCH: Election observer finds fault with election process

International Observers Find Fault With Uganda Elections
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“I want them to remain strong to remain focused on regaining our rights and the control of our country and to pause any attempt of turning us into subjects in our own country. And we are challenging what is going on. I am confident that if we do not cooperate with the regime that takes over power in this way, the regime will not survive,” he said.

The European Union's election observer mission released a statement saying the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party's domination of the political landscape "distorted the fairness of the campaign and state actors created an intimidating atmosphere for both voters and candidates" on election day and the days following.

In a statement Saturday, U.S. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said that while the elections had been peaceful, their conduct was "deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process."