Long serving Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has been re-elected for another five-year term in office, according to the final results announced by the Electoral Commission on Saturday afternoon.
Mr Museveni won 58.64 per cent of the total votes cast (5,851,037), EC chair Simon Byabakama announced in a televised address.
His closest rival Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, of the National Unity Platform, came second with 34.83 per cent (3,475,298).
“Having obtained the highest number of votes cast in his favour, being more than 50 per cent at the election, EC declares Yoweri Kaguta Museveni as the President of Uganda,” Justice Byabakama said and asked the contestants to accept the outcome.
This stretches the National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate's stay in office to 40 years.
Museveni, 76, has won a sixth term after almost four decades in power. Wine, a former popstar, emerged as his main rival in a youthful country where most have known only one president.
The commission announced the results as a boosted armed forces’ presence remained visible, patrolling nearly deserted streets while national army choppers hovered and made low altitude maneuvers in some parts of a fortressed and muted country.
There was no explicit concession to NRM’s victory from opposition dissidents in a country that has been under a total internet shutdown since voting started on January 14.
Millions skipped vote
A total of 10,359,479 votes were cast on Thursday, which translates to a turnout of 57 per cent. Valid votes numbered 9,978,093 while invalid votes numbered 381,386.
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Amuriat Oboi polled 323,536 votes (3.24 per cent) while each of the other candidates attracted less than a percentage point.
Alliance for National Transformation’s Mugisha Muntu got 65,334 (0.65 per cent), Democratic Party’s Norbert Mao 55,665 (0.56 per cent) and independent candidates Joseph Kabuleta 44,300 (0.44 per cent), Nancy Kalembe 37,469 (0.38 per cent), John Katumba 35,983 (0.36 per cent) Willy Mayambala 14,657 (0.15 per cent), Fred Mwesigye got 24,673 (0.25 per cent) and Henry Tumukunde 50,141 (0.50 per cent).
Ms Kalembe was the only female candidate in the race.
As the EC basks in the glory of the poll, many questions will be asked after it emerged that nearly half of the registered voters did not show up to cast their ballots.
The results announced by Justice Byabakama indicate that nearly 7.7 million Ugandans did not vote, indicating that apathy greeted the vote characterised by violence and intimidation of opposition supporters.
The country’s electoral body, accused of electoral fraud by the opposition, became a target of sad commentary to the opposition after “irregularities” were sighted in presidential poll results, tailored with a cruel atmosphere towards government nonconformists leading to polls amid a roaring Covid-19 pandemic.
Before the election, the opposition jointly said that a win for President Museveni would be a ticket to a chaotic Uganda and warned the commission against declaring him the winner.
The United States (US), the European Union (EU) and other international bodies earlier raised the alarm over lack of transparency in Uganda’s election.
“It is not possible for the US to meaningfully observe the conduct of Uganda’s elections at polling sites across the country,” US ambassador Natalie Brown said Wednesday whilst announcing cancellation of a diplomatic observer mission of Uganda’s election.
"Battle not over"
Wine has already contested the outcome, describing provisional results announced by the commission as fake and a joke.
"Justice Byabakama disdainfully ignored malpractices that occurred during elections, including those at the expense of armed forces but he is spinning elections in Gen Museveni’s favour," he claimed.
He also tweeted that his home was under a military siege but the army said he was merely being protected from intruders.
“My life is in danger having survived several assassination attempts and being attacked by soldiers at my home. Several of my supporters have been killed and thousands arbitrarily arrested,” he said Friday.
Wine said he intends to release vivid evidence for his claims once internet connectivity is restored.
“Armed security officers gave people pre-ticked ballot papers in addition to intimidating voters by their presence and influencing the electorate to vote in favour of President Museveni," he alleged before the EC chair challenged him “to show how results were released contrary to what was in 34,684 Result Declaration Forms.”
Wine, who results show he garnered some grassroots support since arriving on the political scene, told his backers that he was hell-bent towards pushing for an end to Mr Museveni’s 35 years at the helm of Uganda’s top leadership spot.
“Our battle is just beginning and far from over,” he remarked Friday, during a press conference at his home in Magere, Wakiso district.
In avoidance of any clear case of history, the run up to this year’s election claimed over 60 people in the face of police and army brutality in a politically divided nation.