Uganda’s long-time President Yoweri Museveni has been re-elected, electoral officials say, amid accusations of vote rigging by his main rival Bobi Wine. Museveni won almost 59% of the vote, with Bobi Wine trailing with about 35%, the Electoral Commission said.
Bobi Wine, a former pop star, earlier vowed to provide evidence of fraud. The Electoral Commission denies there was vote-rigging in Thursday’s poll.
Poll monitors have criticised the government closure of internet access. They say this undermined confidence. Bobi Wine said he would provide evidence of fraud once the internet was restored.
Dozens of people were killed during violence in the run-up to the election. Opposition politicians have also accused the government of harassment.
The result gives President Museveni a sixth term in office. The 76 year old, in power since 1986, says he represents stability in the country.
Meanwhile, Bobi Wine – the stage name for 38-year-old Robert Kyagulanyi – says he has the backing of the youth in one of the world’s youngest nations, where the median age is 16.
On Friday, as the results came in, Bobi Wine said that Ugandan soldiers had surrounded and breached his home.
But a government spokesman accused him of “dramatising” the incident “to seek sympathy”.
“The electoral commission declares Yoweri Museveni… elected President of the Republic of Uganda,” election commission chairman Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama said on Saturday.
He said turnout was 57% of the almost 18 million registered voters.
Earlier, Byabakama said the vote had been peaceful, and called on Bobi Wine, who said some of his polling agents were arrested on Thursday, to make public the evidence for his fraud allegations.
The opposition candidate believes the internet shutdown is being used to block communication and as a way of compromising the vote.
“I will be happy to share the videos of all the fraud and irregularities as soon as the internet is restored,” Bobi Wine said.
Meanwhile, Wanyama, who is a spokesperson for President Museveni, hit back at Bobi Wine’s claims of vote rigging.
“He came short of the expectation of Ugandans,” he said in an earlier interview with the BBC. “He had no message and Ugandans have told him he has to wait a little longer.”
Wanyama added: “We have challenged him to provide proof for his claims, he has not a single iota of evidence.”
The EU, United Nations and several rights groups have previously raised concerns about the integrity of Uganda’s election.
But, aside from an African Union mission, there is currently no major international group monitoring the vote. Earlier this week the US – a major aid donor to Uganda – cancelled its diplomatic observer mission to the country, saying that the majority of its staff had been denied permission to monitor polling sites.
Violence reached an unprecedented level in the build-up to the race, and dozens have died during crackdowns by security forces.
Bobi Wine and other opposition candidates have been arrested on several occasions, and during protests that followed one arrest in November, more than 50 people were killed.
Museveni, who came to power on the back of an armed uprising in 1986, stood as leader of the National Resistance Movement (NRM). He has long been depicted to Ugandans as a liberator and peace bringer.
His challenger Bobi Wine is a reggae star known by his supporters as the ghetto president. His party, the National Unity Platform (NUP), campaigns for basic needs like improving access to healthcare, education, clean water and justice.
Over the last two decades Bobi Wine’s musical output has been filled with songs about these issues and they have inspired a fervent following.
He grew up in Kampala’s Kamwokya slum where he went on to build his now world-famous recording studio.