Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni won a decisive re-election victory on Saturday, elections officials said, but his main rival Bobi Wine alleged widespread fraud and said citizens should reject the result.
Museveni won with 58.6% of the vote, seeing off a stiff battle from 38-year-old singer Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu aka Bobi Wine.
Bobi Wine, who had rallied young Ugandans behind his call for political change, called the results a complete fraud.
“It’s an election that was taken over by the military and the police,” he said in a phone interview from inside his home in the capital, Kampala, which was surrounded by soldiers who he said had forbidden him from leaving.
“It further exposes how dictatorial the Museveni regime is, It’s a mockery of democracy,” Bobi Wine added.
The army’s deputy spokesman, Deo Akiiki, told Reuters that security officers at Wine’s house were assessing threats he could face by going out.
After the results were announced, many neighborhoods in normally bustling Kampala were unusually quiet as nightfall approached. Soldiers and police who had patrolled throughout the day remained on the streets in large numbers, witnesses said.
Hundreds of the president’s supporters rode motorcycles from the election tallying centre to downtown, where people danced with posters bearing the president’s face.
Museveni, 76 and in power for 35 years, campaigned for another term arguing his long experience in office makes him a good leader and promising to keep delivering stability and progress.
Bobi Wine, galvanised young Ugandans with his calls for political change and pledged to end what he calls dictatorship and widespread corruption.
On Friday, Bobi said he had video proof of voting fraud and would share the videos as soon as internet connections were restored. The government ordered the internet shut down the day before the election, and the blackout was still in place.
Electoral Commission Chairman Simon Byabakama said on Friday that under Ugandan law, the burden of proof rested with Wine.
In the parliamentary election, where candidates were vying for 529 seats, results were still coming in but media reported that 56 candidates from Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP) had won their races, while the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), previously the largest opposition party, had so far won 34 seats.
The country’s vice president, Edward Ssekandi, was one of a number of senior ruling party lawmakers who lost their seats, according to broadcaster NTV Uganda.
The FDC won 35 seats in the 2016 election, but the NUP had no seats in the previous parliament – Wine was elected as an independent and joined the party last year.