Polls opened and ended Thursday, paving way for a rather delayed vote counting exercise in Uganda’s hotly contested election as the country climaxes a deadly election that has so far claimed over 50 people in poll-related violence.
Incumbent president Yoweri K Museveni Friday evening made a leap towards sealing stay in office beyond 35 years after he steadily stretched lead over ten other candidates eyeing Uganda’s presidency, including closest challenger and National unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
Mr Museveni, 76, eclipsed 3 million votes (62.74%) while opposition front-runner and NUP presidential candidate, Bobi Wine had gained but was still trailing with 1,445,805 votes (29.34%), according to Electoral Commission’s (EC) third batch of provisional results.
Nearly 50% of the vote has been tallied.
2021 Presidential election provisional results from 17,042 polling stations received so far (49.14%)
Amuriat Oboi Patrick
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)
Kabuleta Kiiza Joseph
Kalembe Nancy Linda
Kyagulanyi S Robert aka Bobi Wine
National Unity Platform (NUP)
Democratic Party (DP)
Mugisha Muntu G
Alliance for National Transformation (ANT)
Tumukunde Henry K
Museveni T Kaguta
National Resistance Movement (NRM)
*Accurate as per January 15, 2021 (5:30pm Local EAT)
The race remains tight and too early to call with results in accounting for just 4, 928,118 total valid votes. At least 197, 585 (3.85%) votes have been deemed invalid with 130,285 votes spoilt.
By Friday evening, EC accounted for 5,125,703 votes (28.31%) of the 18,103,603 registered voters in an election that was projected to have an increase in voter turn up.
Bobi Wine Friday hinted on possibility of rejecting results in an election that was marred by gross irregularities.
“The results the EC boss Simon Byabakama puts out are his business. We are in this to win,” Bobi Wine told the press in Magere, Wakiso District, shortly after voting.
Parts of Kampala metropolitan, a traditional opposition swing territory, reported cases of delayed voting and technological difficulties in using Bio-metric Voter Verification Machines. Also, a ballot box was Thursday stolen in Ntungamo.
“EC had over four years to prepare for this election. They say they delivered voting materials to areas over 500km away from Kampala but failed to deliver in their own backyard. There must be a wrong plan,” voter Kenneth Kanaabi, 25, said.
The social media, digital trends and citizen journalism evolution were faced with unfamiliarly heightened forces of a complete shutdown as heavy security was also maintained throughout the country.
Several other opposition figures all week-long expressed intent to trash results, should they swing in veteran leader, Mr Museveni's direction by any chances of electoral malpractices.
“We warn Byabakama. He should know that he has an obligation to Ugandans not just Museveni,” FDC presidential candidate, Mr Patrick Amuriat said Thursday.
NRM presidential candidate Museveni- who has been in power since 1986, has a historical cycle of winning in elections that have overly been rejected by opposition and at some point international observers highlighting irregularities.
Independent presidential candidate Ms Nancy Kalembe said she was optimistic that “Museveni would surrender and allow peaceful transition after election defeat.”
The January 14 election is largely seen by opposition figures as a crucial ‘revolution and referenda vote’ on whether Mr Museveni who has been in power since 1986 can extend his rule to four decades or not.
“This election is significant for a country that has to be set free from a reckless regime,” ANT presidential candidate, Gen Mugisha Muntu said.
Uganda went into elections still in the aftershock of deadly November 18/19 protests that claimed over 50 people following the arrest of Bobi Wine in the eastern district Luuka District. The protests exposed Uganda's electoral violence and scores of people have gone on to die with thousands of opposition supporters in detention.
According to Mr Byabakama, Thursday’s election had been conducted “largely peacefully across the country.”
The electoral body he leads is now tasked by the constitution to declare final results within 48 hours after closure of polls.
*The next instalment of results declaration by the Electoral Commission will be January 15, at 9:00pm (Local EAT)