Uganda’s leader of 35 years was re-elected amid vote-rigging

NAIROBI, Kenya – Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has won a sixth term, the country’s Election Commission said on Saturday, following a deadly crackdown by the opposition, an internet blackout and campaign with allegations of vote tampering and rigging.

The result gives Mr. Museveni, who came to power in 1986 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, a new term of five years. Also a cap Bitter and bloody campaign For his opponents – especially his main rival, musician to legislator Bobby Vine.

Mr wine was Beaten and hurt, His entire campaign team was detained and his house Was besieged by the army and disbanded. On Saturday, Mr Vine challenged the results, saying Mr Museveni’s government had “fabricated” him.

“We rejected what they are doing,” he said in a telephone interview from the capital Kampala. “We have our evidence, but they are keeping the Internet closed so that we don’t communicate it to the world,” The blackout, he said, began a day before the January 14 election. “We won,” he said.

Mr. Museveni maintained his long-term grip on power by tapping ancestral networks from large cities to small villages, extorting money and promising promising projects, which ultimately helped him and the ruling National Resistance Movement restore his political dominance Maintained. And they also used state institutions to persecute opposition leaders, deploying security forces to intimidate civilians and the media.

Mr. Museveni’s western political and military ties have for years led him against direct scrutiny, even Human rights groups criticized critics bitterly.

Under his leadership, Uganda has been a close Western military ally in East Africa, with soldiers serving as peacekeepers in Somalia, where officials Qaeda group fighting al-Shabaab. Ugandan recruits have also served as private security guards and worked closely with US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Local and foreign election observers have questioned the legality and transparency of this week’s vote as they were prevented from monitoring it. United States Mission in Uganda said 75 percent of its recognition requests were rejected, Pushing it to cancel their observation of the vote.

A report seen by The New York Times, with inputs from 2,000 observers with the Africa Election Watch Coalition stationed in 146 districts across the country, documented late opening at most polling stations, illegally opened ballot box incidents and civilians 26 members of society arrested. The groups that were observing the election.

The Election Commission said that Mr. Museveni received 5.8 million or more than 58.6 percent of the total votes, while Mr. Vine received 3.4 million votes, or more than 34 percent of the total votes. There were 18.1 million registered voters out of a population of about 45 million.

Although Uganda has opposition candidates Crack encountered In the past, “the gag during this election was unprecedented,” said Sue Muerza, a Ugandan political commentator. “There was only one man like Bobby who could do against the machine” was what he called a “security state”.

Mr. Museveni came to power 35 years ago as the head of a revolutionary movement, promised to uphold democracy, protect the people of Uganda in a nation torn by coups and violence, and remove corruption and greed And prevented African leaders from fulfilling their people. Aspirations.

At the time, he and his cadres “saw themselves as essential leaders, not only as the nation’s politics, but as a whole new national culture”, Derek R. Said Peterson, professor of history and African studies at the University of Michigan.

As his power grew more, Mr. Museveni and the people of his government became more convinced that he alone “has the right to the fate of the writer Uganda,” Mr. Peterson said.

“Where once he was a young firebrand,” Mr. Peterson said, Mr. Museveni “now speaks as an elder, reminding his people of the virtues of the old culture, demanding respect, of the young. Uncover the fall. “

In Thursday’s vote, those young Ugandan people were represented by Mr Vine, a 38-year-old rapper from the legislature who posed the biggest challenge to Mr Museveni’s rule. Mr Vine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulaini, called on Mr Museveni to resign and pointed to corruption, chronic unemployment and poor public services in the East African nation.

The officers responded by arresting Mr. Vine – He included that day for his candidacy in November – and accused of violating sanctions to control the coronovirus epidemic.

Mr. Liquor’s arrest and other opposition figures Stop nationwide protests Due to which security forces dispersed the protesters, at least 54 people died. As the campaign heated up late last year, Mr. Museveni accused the opposition Being supported Foreign “agents” and “lesbians”, and he said Wanted to start A “rebellion” that would sow chaos all over the country.

In early January, citing government abuses Case filed in International Criminal Court Against Mr. Museveni and nine top security officials, alleging attempted murder and human rights violations.

Mr Vine said that between 50 and 60 military officers were still around his seven-acre property and were preventing people from leaving or entering his home.

“The government is doing this to intimidate me so that I cannot talk to the world,” he said. He said that he hoped the international community would stand up for Uganda. “I’m glad the world is getting to see Museveni for who he is.”

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