EU impressed with Museveni victory despite allegations of fraud
London, Jan. 17, 2021 (AltAfrica)-European Union, EU and Museveni Yoweri Ugandan rolling leader appear to have finally struct an accord after Uganda’s electoral commission said Saturday that President Yoweri Museveni won a sixth five-year term, extending his rule to four decades
But top opposition challenger Bobi Wine dismissed “cooked-up, fraudulent results” and officials struggled to explain how polling results were compiled amid an internet blackout.
But the European Union, EU has no problem and has expressed satisfaction with the conduct and organisation of the poll
The Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Uganda, Ambassador Atillio Pacifici, said his team was impressed with the level of organisation and peaceful conduct exhibited during the presidential and parliamentary polls
“We saw an extremely well-organised election exercise with people very orderly waiting to cast their votes and everything went on very peacefully. We are very impressed…the (Electoral Commission) presiding officers were very professional,” Ambassador Pacifici said.
The EU delegation chief made the remarks Friday while speaking to journalists at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds where the EC tally centre for collating parliamentary election results for Kampala’s five divisions has been set up.
“It is very impressive that there are so many young, well-educated Ugandans [involved in the electoral process],” he added during their impromptu visit to the tally centre.
The EU has this time not deployed election monitors, as it has traditionally done, in part because the government of Uganda has not implemented a raft of recommendations that the EU election Observers have made during the past polls.
Instead, the EU has sent what it calls a diplomatic watch – a team of diplomatic staff from various embassies of the bloc member countries in Kampala – to just see things transpiring in the elections.
The United States had cancelled its observation of Uganda’s presidential election because most of its accreditation requests were denied and said Thursday’s vote would lack accountability and transparency
In a phone interview from his home, which he said was surrounded by soldiers who wouldn’t let him leave, Wine urged the international community to “please call Gen. Museveni to order” by withholding aid, imposing sanctions and using Magnitsky legislation to hold alleged human rights users accountable
Wine repeated that all legal options are being considered, including challenging the results in court and calling for peaceful protests.
The electoral commission said Museveni received 58% of ballots and Wine 34%, and voter turnout was 52%, in a process that the top United States diplomat to Africa called “fundamentally flawed.”
The commission advised people celebrating to remember COVID-19 precautions, but reaction in the capital, Kampala, was muted. At one point, hundreds of Museveni supporters on motorcycles sped by, honking and chanting. The military remained in the streets.
AP journalists who tried to reach Wine’s home on Kampala’s outskirts were turned away by police. Wine has said he is alone with his wife, Barbie, and a single security guard after police told a private security company to withdraw its protection ahead of Thursday’s election.
“I’m alive,” Wine said. After declaring “the world is watching” on the eve of the vote, he said “I don’t know what will happen to me and my wife” now. He said he won’t leave Uganda and abandon its 45 million people to the kind of treatment he has faced.
The vote followed the East African country’s worst pre-election violence since the 76-year-old Museveni took office in 1986. Wine and other candidates were beaten or harassed, and more than 50 people were killed when security forces put down riots in November over his arrest.
Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was detained several times while campaigning but never convicted. He said he feared for his life.
Yoweri Museveni has already ruled Uganda for 35 years – and he is now set for five more
This month, Wine petitioned the International Criminal Court over alleged torture and other abuses by security forces and named several officials including Museveni.
In response to his allegations of vote-rigging, Uganda’s electoral commission said Wine should prove it. Wine says he has video evidence and will share it once internet access is restored.
Museveni said in a national address that “I think this may turn out to be the most cheating-free election since 1962,” or independence from Britain.
The electoral commission deflected questions about how countrywide voting results were transmitted during the internet blackout by saying “we designed our own system.”
“We did not receive any orders from above during this election,” commission chair Simon Byabakama told reporters, adding his team was “neither intimidated nor threatened.”