The European Union (EU) yesterday asked the Electoral Commission to publish without delay a copy of results from each of the country’s 28,010 polling stations breaking down scores of each of the eight presidential candidates and over 458 parliamentary contestants.
In a post-election statement yesterday, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) said that publishing the results online, including scanned copies of the Declaration of Results Forms will enable voters, as well as the candidates, “to comprehensively evaluate the election results”. “The Electoral Commission’s accountability is very important in the post-electoral environment,” asserted the EU EOM Chief Observer, Mr Eduard Kukan, adding, “Pro-active publication of information of public interest is enshrined in international standards to which Uganda has committed itself with the aim of respecting citizens’ fundamental freedoms and rights.”
EC spokesman Jotham Taremwa, however, told this newspaper in a telephone interview: “The candidates should get the declaration of results forms from their agents and compare with results on our website.” The EU’s call comes at a time when questions about the credibility of the February 18 general election are increasing. International observers have already noted that the election fell “short of international benchmarks for a democratic process.”
Dr Kizza Besigye, who remains under house arrest and Mr Amama Mbabazi have called the election fraudulent and distanced themselves from the results, calling for an international audit of the same.
The EC yesterday said it had posted on their website (www.ec.or.ug) what Mr Taremwa called presidential results of all polling stations in Uganda and asked Mr Kukan and EU officials to take note but by press time the website was either taking too long to open or not opening at all.
The EU EOM, Mr Kukan noted: “will continue to observe the post-electoral environment. The electoral process is completed only when all candidates have rightfully exercised the relevant legal avenues without fear, intimidation or other undue restrictions.”
The law provides 10 days within which to challenge the outcome of the presidential elections after the announcement of results. Such a petition in court would require such information as is contained in the declaration of results forms. So far, Dr Besigye’s attempts to obtain these documents and other information from the EC have been unsuccessful with the police repeatedly arresting and detaining him whenever he tries to leave home.
However, in a press statement yesterday, police chief Kale Kayihura said: “Dr Besigye is not under house arrest. He is allowed unlimited access to his lawyers, family and party officials, among others, and is not in any way hindered from preparing to legally challenge the results of the presidential elections if he so chooses.”