Ugandan opposition candidate Bobi Wine has said he will legally challenge the results of the presidential election in which incumbent President Yoweri Museveni announced the winner, urging his supporters to refrain from violence.
Bobi Wine made the announcement on Sunday via the Twitter account belonging to his National Unity Platform (NUP) party, hours after the country’s election commission said Museveni won the vote with 58.6% of the vote.
According to the commission, Bobi Wine obtained only 34.8%.
Security personnel and police were in force patrolling the capital Kampala and an internet blackout, ordered by the government the day before the elections, was still in place.
“I take this painful but nonetheless inevitable decision by management to urge you to desist from all forms of violence as we prepare to challenge the election result and its glaring imperfections in the courts in the name of our long-term victory and for Uganda, “he said.
The decision was made after consulting with senior NUP officials, said Bobi Wine, a pop star turned politician real name Robert Kyagulanyi.
I therefore take this painful but nonetheless inevitable decision by management to urge you to renounce all forms of violence as we prepare to challenge the election result and its glaring imperfections in court for the sake of our long-term victory and for Uganda.
– National unity platform (@NUP_Ug) January 16, 2021
State television footage showed jubilant Museveni supporters in his home district waving flags and applauding, as soldiers in the capital helped motorcycle riders stage a parade – handing them yellow vests and posters of the president.
Jeffrey Smith, founding director of pro-democracy group Vanguard Africa, said he had been in contact with Bobi Wine.
“Ideally, in this case, you would talk to Bobi Wine himself or one of his colleagues, but due to the ongoing internet shutdown in the country and the continued restriction of information you obviously can’t do it, ”Smith said. Al Jazeera.
“I spoke to Bobi earlier, he is very worried about his life… The soldiers stay around his house. They raised their guns at him, left the front door of his house open and pointed guns at reporters when they introduced themselves. This is a very worrying situation and it seems to be deteriorating further.
Deputy Army spokesman Deo Akiiki said the soldiers were there for Bobi Wine’s “own safety”.
‘Show your proof’
Speaking to Al Jazeera on Saturday, Bobi Wine said authorities refused to allow him to leave his residence and argued that the Jan. 14 election was rigged in Museveni’s favor.
“He said he had evidence of widespread irregularities,” said Catherine Wambua-Soi, of Al Jazeera, in Kampala. “He did not show his proof, he said he was going to present his proof once the internet is restored.”
Museveni, 76, in power since 1986 and one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, dismissed allegations of fraud during an evening address to the nation, saying Thursday’s election could turn out to be the “most cheating-free” in Uganda’s history.
He thanked his supporters and now said “the only thing to be avoided is violence”.
The campaign was marked by a murderous crackdown by the security forces against Bobi Wine, other opposition candidates and their supporters.
As the vote neared, local civil society groups and foreign governments questioned its credibility and transparency after numerous requests for accreditation to monitor the election were denied.
The United States and an African election observation group have complained about electoral irregularities.
The US State Department’s top diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, said in a tweet on Saturday that “the electoral process was fundamentally flawed.”
He cited reports of fraud, the denial of accreditation of observers, the violence and harassment of opposition members and the arrest of civil society activists.
The UK expressed concern over the nation’s Internet shutdown, adding that it restricted freedoms and “clearly limited the transparency of elections.”
In a statement, Britain’s Africa Minister James Duddridge also called for an investigation into alleged election irregularities.