Kampala. The Electoral Commission (EC) chairman, Dr Badru Kiggundu, was yesterday unwavering that the February 18 polls were credible, free and fair despite wide condemnation that the exercise did not meet minimum standards of an election.
Mr Kiggundu, who was addressing the country ahead of today’s Local Government Council elections, first reacted to what he called “distortions of information” on the manner in which the results were declared.
“It is important to note that the declaration met the legal requirement of Section 57(4) of the Presidential Elections Act, which provides that a candidate shall be declared as president if he/she has obtained more than 50 per cent of the valid votes cast at the election,” Dr Kiggundu said.
He added: “The candidate who was declared as winner had obtained more than 50 per cent of the total votes cast at the election. The commission considered the fact that the difference in votes obtained by the leading candidate and first runner up would not be overturned by the votes from the remaining polling stations,” he said.
Both international and local observer missions including the African Union (AU), European Union (EU), the Commonwealth, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and Citizens Election Observer Network Uganda (CEON-U) queried the credibility of the electoral process raising issues surrounding voter bribery, an unlevelled playing field, late delivery of materials, intimidation and harassment, among others.
On the allegation that the EC deliberately declined to declare results from areas which support Dr Kizza Besigye, the Forum for Democratic Change candidate, Dr Kiggundu said all the results which came in at the specified tallying period were declared.
Also, the EC yesterday released what it called the final tally of the presidential elections excluding 129 polling stations whose results were cancelled due to various malpractices including disruption of the voting process according to Dr Kiggundu. Some of the affected areas were Ggaba, Makindye Division and Kyebando Sub-county in Wakiso District.
President Museveni, who was declared winner, had according to EC, 5,971,872 (60.62 per cent) followed by Dr Besigye with 3,508,687 (35.61 per cent) Mr Abed Bwanika of the Peoples Development Party polled 89,005 (0.90 per cent) of the valid votes cast. Independent presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi got 136,519 (1.39 per cent), Prof Venansius Baryamureeba 52,798 (0.54 per cent), Farmers Party of Uganda’s Benon Biraaro at 25,600 (0.26 per cent), Joseph Mabirizi at 24,498 (0.25 per cent) and Ms Maureen Kyalya at 42,833 (0.43 per cent).
In response to Dr Kizza Besigye who has more than once been arrested on his way to the EC to, among others, get the results for the presidential polls, Dr Kiggundu, said the FDC presidential candidate had gone about the matter in the wrong way.
“No one can come here unless they have an appointment, when you are a presidential candidate, you should lead by example for others to emulate. This is not a wedding ceremony, there is no cake here to be eaten, we are serious in what we do, so we must have respect for our operations, our institutions, but we have made available the results he wanted through his agents but I will leave it to him to try again”
The commission also dismissed reports that the weakness of the EC, especially the failure to deliver voting materials on time, could have contributed to many people not voting.
“A voter turn up of 67.61 per cent and you think that is incompetence of the EC? Even in mothers of democracy, heads of state come to office at 50 per cent. If people could be in multitudes which you were seeing on rallies, you as media why didn’t you convince them to come and vote, we think a voter turn up of 67.61 per cent is not a small one and shouldn’t be demeaned,” Mr Joseph N. Biribonwa, the deputy EC chair, said.
On alleged pre-ticked ballot papers, Mr Biribonwa said the commission was still in liaison with the police.
“The matter is with the police, we are waiting for them to produce the exhibits and we ascertain whether they are our ballot papers or not. They could have been fake papers, I don’t want to say they were not ours but we are waiting for the police report to come out,” Mr Biribonwa said.
EC has also postponed the KCCA special interest group councillors elections following a court order blocking the same.
“There was an injunction which put on hold these elections by one or two of the professional groups, so we couldn’t proceed with the others but when the matter is resolved we shall hold these elections,” Mr Biribonwa said.
9,851,812. Valid votes cast
477,319. Invalid votes
29,005. Spoilt votes
10,329,131. Total Votes