by Ronald Ssekandi and Samuel Egadu
Results released by Uganda’s Electoral Commission on Saturday showed that incumbent President Yoweri Museveni has won the country’s general elections.
Museveni who has been in power for over 30 years garnered 60.75 percent of the total votes cast in an election held on Feb. 18.
Museveni faced off with the two main rivals of Amama Mbabazi, former prime minister and Kizza Besigye of the main opposition party Forum for the Democratic Change. There were also other five presidential candidates.
Museveni was followed by Kizza Besigye who got 35.37 percent of the votes while Mbabazi got 1.43 percent. The remaining percent was shared among Abed Bwanika, Benon Biraro, Joseph Mabirizi, Venasius Baryamureba and Maureen Kyalya.
The candidates have not yet issued statements regarding the results but Mbabazi earlier said he would accept the results provided the elections were free and fair.
Several foreign missions observed the much anticipated elections.
The European Union (EU) Election Observer Mission described the election as not being entirely free and fair, noting that there was intimidation of voters and candidates.
Eduard Kukan, EU Chief Observer said although the voters expressed determination to cast their votes and waited for the election results, the ruling party National Resistance Movement dominated the political landscape.
“The pre-election campaign was marked by a polarized discourse and intimidating atmosphere which was created by state actors and which affected both voters and candidates,” Kukan told reporters as he released the mission’s preliminary report.
He said the move by state agencies to block social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter limited the freedom of expression and access to information. He said the decision created anxiety among the voters.
Government blocked the social media platforms because of what it called security reasons. It did not give details.
Kukan said the excessive use of force by the police in the arrest of opposition presidential candidate Besigye and Forum for Democratic Change leaders at their office on Friday was not acceptable.
He said the observer mission will continue to monitor the situation in Uganda.
In some parts of the capital Kampala, there were some supporters of Museveni jubilating after the results that were broadcast nationwide were announced.
In the capital, there were heavily armed security personnel who patrolled the city to prevent possible post-election violence.
Police over the last several weeks warned that those intending to perpetrate violence would face legal consequences. The warnings followed opposition candidates forming militia groups which they said are meant to protect their votes.
Museveni first came into power in 1986 after winning a five year guerrilla war. He launched the war after the much contested 1980 general elections.
In 1996, elections were restored and Museveni has since won the subsequent elections.
The opposition have over the past elections complained of voter rigging by the now ruling National Resistance Movement but the court has squashed their allegations. Enditem