Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the runner-up in the January 14 presidential elections has dared President Yoweri Museveni to agree to an international audit of the elections since he now agrees that there was massive rigging.
In his televised Sunday evening address to the nation, Museveni contradicted his January 16 speech, two days after the presidential poll, in which he declared that this year’s was the “most cheating-free election” and accused Kyagulanyi and his National Unity Platform (NUP) party of having massively rigged the elections especially in Buganda and parts of Busoga.
“Everybody in Uganda knows who cheated; it was Kyagaulanyi’s group. There was ballot-stuffing, massive rigging in other parts of the country led by youth organisations,” Museveni said on Sunday.
On March 9, Kyagulanyi during a press conference at the NUP party headquarters declared himself winner of the elections with 54.19 percent, a result he said was based on their scrutiny of 2,034 declaration of results (DR) forms in their possession. He said the party had lost 7,281 DR forms to the police while 2,396 forms were not collected from the field and thus relied on what the Electoral Commission (EC) had to make their tally of the results.
This he said as he accused the EC of connivance with security organs to massively rig the election in Museveni’s favour.
Responding to Museveni’s accusations, Kyagulanyi said, “It is laughable that Museveni is claiming that we rigged him. With such claims, he should agree to the international audit we have been demanding for or that January 14 election should be annulled and another be organized.”
Kyagulanyi claims that he polled 6,116,959 votes, 2,485,522 votes more than the 3,631,437 votes that he got according to the official EC tally while Museveni, according to the NUP tally, scored 4,382,669 votes which is 1,660,229 votes less than the 6,042,898 votes he garnered according to the EC.
During his Sunday address, Museveni did not provide any evidence to back-up his accusations against NUP. A Uganda Radio Network journalist spoke to various government and National Resistance Movement (NRM) officials about the claims and discovered that the head of state is yet to share any information with his office and party.
“I don’t think there is a place that you can walk to and say where this information is…he [Museveni] has an eagle’s view. He is able to collect information from different sources. I am sure this is information that is exclusive to him,” his senior press secretary, Don Innocent Wanyama said.
Emmanuel Dombo, the director of communication at the NRM secretariat said that the party has not received details of election rigging information from the president. Dombo suspects that Museveni’s statements could have been informed by the various briefings by the intelligence services that are not shared with other people.
But Dombo says in a previous meeting chaired by the president, there was a reference to an incident in Mawokota where young people confessed to having been ferried from Kampala to vote in the area.
“How they did it, I don’t know, what specifics, I don’t know,” Dombo said.
Asked why the party has not pursued litigation in areas where it was cheated, Dombo said, “For the presidential, it’s inconsequential, even when we were cheated, we won.”
And for parliamentary races, Dombo said, “we shall encourage our parliamentary candidates where such evidence is available to file petitions against those who may have been elected.”
In December, the office of the NRM National Chairperson launched a vote protection team that would ensure that Museveni’s votes are not stolen.
Saleh Kamba, the head of political intelligence and operations in the office is reluctant to say whether they have collected any information pinning NUP on rigging.
“I was not on Radio or TV at that time. So I need to first listen to it and contextualize it before I speak. I want to understand exactly, what he was meaning,” Kamba said.
The president’s claim leaves many questions unanswered: what is the extent of evidence he has? Where did rigging happen? Was it at the presidential or parliamentary level?
Scrutinizing election results, URN discovered that the president’s scores were entered incorrectly at four polling stations as per Electoral Commission tally sheets. At two polling stations in Tororo districts, Museveni polled 252 votes yet the tally sheets show that he got zero. Museveni scored 100 votes at St. Kizito Primary School (N-Z) and 152 votes at Nyambulie polling station.
The other two polling stations where the president’s votes were not tallied by Electoral Commission are in Wakiso.
As allegations of vote-rigging continue to swirl from both NRM and NUP, independent election observer Crispin Kaheru says the prescription for election fraud lies in the enactment of electoral reforms that are intended to completely seal any loopholes that exist in Uganda’s electoral system.
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