Polls opened and ended Thursday, paving way for a rather delayed vote counting exercise in Uganda’s hotly contested election as the country climaxes a deadly election that has so far claimed over 50 people in poll-related violence.
Vote totally at the main centre in Kyambogo, Kampala started after 2 am Friday, five hours later than the electoral body had anticipated but with preliminary results from 330 (0.7 percent) polling stations giving incumbent president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni an early lead.
Mr Museveni, 76, has garnered 1.5 million votes (65%) while opposition front-runner and NUP presidential candidate, Bobi Wine had 647,146 votes (27.39%), according to Electoral Commission’s (EC) second batch of provisional results.
|2021 Presidential election provisional results from 8,310 polling stations|
|Presidential Candidate||Party||Tally||Percentage (%)|
|Amuriat Oboi Patrick||Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)||84,969||3.60|
|Kabuleta Kiiza Joseph||Independent||15,403||0.65|
|Kalembe Nancy Linda||Independent||12,081||0.51|
|Kyagulanyi S Robert aka Bobi Wine||National Unity Platform (NUP)||647,146||27.39|
|Nobert Mao||Democratic Party (DP)||15,315||0.65|
|Mugisha Muntu G||Alliance for National Transformation (ANT)||16, 673||0.71|
|Tumukunde Henry K||Independent||13,813||0.58|
|Museveni T Kaguta||National Resistance Movement (NRM)||1,536,205||65.02|
The race remains tight and too early to call, but Bobi Wine Thursday hinted on the possibility of rejecting results in an election that was marred by gross irregularities.
“The results the EC boss Simon Byabakama puts out are his business. We are in this to win,” Bobi Wine told the press in Magere, Wakiso District, shortly after voting.
Parts of Kampala metropolitan, a traditional opposition swing territory, reported cases of delayed voting and technological difficulties in using Biometric Voter Verification Machines. Also, a ballot box was Thursday stolen in Ntungamo.
“EC had over four years to prepare for this election. They say they delivered voting materials to areas over 500km away from Kampala but failed to deliver in their own backyard. There must be a wrong plan,” voter Kenneth Kanaabi, 25, said.
The social media, digital trends and citizen journalism evolution were faced with unfamiliarly heightened forces of a complete shutdown as heavy security was also maintained throughout the country.
Several other opposition figures all week long expressed intent to trash results, should they swing in Mr Museveni’s direction through electoral malpractices.
“We warn Byabakama. He should know that he has an obligation to Ugandans not just Museveni,” FDC presidential candidate, Mr Patrick Amuriat, said Thursday.
NRM presidential candidate Museveni- who has been in power since 1986, has a historical cycle of winning in elections that have overly been rejected by the opposition and at some point international observers highlighting irregularities.
Independent presidential candidate Ms Nancy Kalembe said she was optimistic that “Museveni would surrender and allow peaceful transition after an election defeat.”
The January 14 election is largely seen by opposition figures as a crucial ‘revolution and referenda vote’ on whether Mr Museveni can extend his rule to four decades or not.
“This election is significant for a country that has to be set free from a reckless regime,” ANT presidential candidate, Gen Mugisha Muntu said.
Uganda went into elections still in the aftershock of deadly November 18/19 protests that claimed over 50 people following the arrest of Bobi Wine in the eastern district Luuka District. The protests exposed Uganda’s electoral violence and many opposition supporters in detention.
According to Mr Byabakama, Thursday’s election had been conducted “largely peacefully across the country.”
The electoral body he leads is now tasked by the constitution to declare final results within 48 hours after the closure of polls.