President Museveni was yesterday declared winner of the January 14 presidential election, bringing to a close months of violence-ridden campaigns during which several dozens of Ugandans were killed, many others roughed up and Opposition candidates arrested or beaten up several times.
As Mr Museveni was being declared winner, his principal opponent – Mr Robert Kyagulanyi of the National Unity Party – was under military blockade at his home in Magere, Wakiso District.
Media and Mr Kyagulanyi’s associates were denied access to the home and he was not allowed out of his home.
Mr Francis Zaake, the Mityana Municipality MP, who has also been re-elected, was taken to hospital after an altercation with security personnel as he tried to access the home of his party leader.
When Mr Museveni spoke last night, he adopted an angry posture and sounded warning to especially Mr Kyagulanyi, accusing him of fomenting sectarianism and brooding violence.
Mr Kyagulanyi, an ethnic Muganda, beat Mr Museveni in Buganda and this is the first time the President has lost in Buganda since 1996.
The police and the military were on patrol in Kampala and other parts of the country as many parts of the capital city and many other urban areas remained largely deserted as people were unsure of what could happen after the declaration of the winner of the election.
What is happening at Mr Kyagulanyi’s home is a repeat of what happened at Dr Kizza Besigye’s home after the 2016 elections, which Dr Besigye still insists he won despite the Electoral Commission declaring Mr Museveni winner.
On Friday, Mr Kyagulanyi claimed that the election had been stolen, saying his agents had been arrested and kept away from polling stations in some areas to pave way for rigging.
Mr Museveni, however, claimed that what the country had just gone through could be the most “cheating-free” election in Uganda since 1962.
As Mr Museveni looks to start another term, it is important and urgent that a de-escalation of tensions is genuinely pursued to solve the political problem in which the country finds itself.
A country that has just gone through an election should not be relying on the military to ensure peace.
All the political and other players need to proactively look to feed into a process that ensures that when President Museveni finally leaves power, the country will have an opportunity to build on what has been done and go forward, not backward.
This is extremely urgent since Mr Museveni is now 76 years old and will have been 40 years in power at the end of the term he has just acquired.