Uganda’s Chief of 35 Years Is Re-elected After Bitter, Bloody Marketing campaign
NAIROBI, Kenya — President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda has gained a sixth time period, the nation’s electoral fee mentioned on Saturday, after a marketing campaign marred by a deadly crackdown on the opposition, an web blackout and accusations of vote tampering and rigging.
The end result offers Mr. Museveni, who got here to energy in 1986 and is one in all Africa’s longest-serving leaders, a brand new five-year time period. It additionally caps a bitter and bloody marketing campaign for his opponents — notably his major rival, the musician-turned-lawmaker Bobi Wine.
He was overwhelmed and bruised, his complete marketing campaign staff was detained and his house was surrounded and breached by the army. On Saturday, Mr. Wine challenged the outcomes, saying Mr. Museveni’s authorities had “fabricated” them.
“We rejected what they’re placing out,” he mentioned in a phone interview from Kampala, the capital. “We have now our proof, however they’re holding the web shut down in order that we don’t talk it to the world,” he mentioned, of the blackout that started within the day earlier than the Jan. 14 election. “We gained,” he added.
The electoral fee mentioned Mr. Museveni acquired greater than 5.8 million votes, or 58.6 p.c of the full votes, whereas Mr. Wine acquired 3.4 million votes, or over 34 p.c of the full votes. There have been 18.1 million registered voters out of a inhabitants of about 45 million.
Though Ugandan opposition candidates have confronted crackdowns up to now, “the gag throughout this election was unprecedented,” mentioned Su Muhereza, a Ugandan political commentator. “There was solely a lot one man like Bobi may do in opposition to the machine” of what she known as “the safety state.”
Mr. Museveni rose to energy as the pinnacle of a revolutionary motion 35 years in the past, promising to uphold democracy, safeguard the lives of Ugandans in a nation torn by coups and violence, and lamenting the corruption and greed that hindered African leaders from fulfilling their folks’s aspirations.
On the time, he and his cadres “noticed themselves because the important leaders, not simply of the nation’s politics, however of an entire new nationwide tradition,” mentioned Derek R. Peterson, a professor of historical past and African research at College of Michigan.
However over time, Mr. Museveni and the governing Nationwide Resistance Motion tightened their grip on energy by misusing public funds, using patronage, utilizing state establishments to persecute opposition leaders and deploying safety forces to intimidate civil society teams and the media.
As his energy turned extra entrenched, Mr. Museveni and people in his authorities turned an increasing number of satisfied that they alone had “the suitable to writer Uganda’s future,” Mr. Peterson mentioned.
“The place as soon as he was a youthful firebrand,” Mr. Peterson mentioned, Mr. Museveni “now speaks as an elder, reminding his folks concerning the virtues of the outdated tradition, demanding deference, excoriating the decadence of the younger.”
Within the voting on Thursday, these youthful Ugandans had been represented by Mr. Wine, a 38-year-old rapper-turned-lawmaker who mounted the most important problem but to Mr. Museveni’s rule. Mr. Wine, whose actual identify is Robert Kyagulanyi, known as on Mr. Museveni to resign and pointed to the corruption, power unemployment and poor public providers throughout the East African nation.
The authorities responded by arresting Mr. Wine — together with on the day he filed for his candidacy in November — and charged him with violating restrictions to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
The arrest of Mr. Wine and different opposition figures set off nationwide protests that led to the deaths of not less than 54 folks as safety forces dispersed demonstrators. Because the marketing campaign heated up late final yr, Mr. Museveni accused the opposition of being backed by international “brokers” and “homosexuals,” and mentioned they wanted to start an “riot” that might sow chaos throughout the nation.
Citing authorities abuses, Mr. Wine in early January filed a case with the Worldwide Prison Court docket in opposition to Mr. Museveni and 9 high safety officers, accusing them of tried homicide and human rights violations.
On Saturday, Mr. Wine struck a defiant word, vowing to problem the leads to courtroom and present the world that he was the rightful winner.
Native and international election observers questioned the validity and transparency of the vote after they had been prevented from monitoring it for lack of accreditation. The US mission in Uganda mentioned that 75 p.c of its accreditation requests had been denied, pushing it to cancel its commentary of the vote.
A report seen by The New York Occasions, which had enter from 2,000 observers with the Africa Elections Watch coalition deployed in 146 districts nationwide, documented late openings in most polling stations, incidents of illegally opened poll bins and the arrest of 26 members of civil society teams who had been observing the election.
Mr. Wine mentioned that between 50 and 60 army officers had been nonetheless surrounding his seven-acre property and that they had been blocking folks from leaving or getting into his house.
“The federal government is doing this to intimidate me, to verify I don’t converse to the world,” he mentioned, including that he hoped that the worldwide neighborhood would arise for Ugandans. “I’m glad the world is attending to see Museveni for who he’s.”
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