Uganda’s Chief of 35 Years Is Re-elected Amid Accusations of Vote-Rigging

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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 outcome offers Mr. Museveni, who got here to energy in 1986 and is one among Africa’s longest-serving leaders, a brand new five-year time period. It additionally caps a bitter and bloody campaign for his opponents — significantly his primary rival, the musician-turned-lawmaker Bobi Wine.

Mr. Wine was beaten and bruised, his whole marketing campaign crew was detained and his dwelling was surrounded and breached by the military. 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’ve our proof, however they’re protecting 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.

Underneath Mr. Museveni, Uganda has proved to be a detailed Western army ally in East Africa, with troops serving as peacekeepers in Somalia, the place the authorities have long battled the Qaeda-linked group al Shabab. Ugandan recruits have additionally served as personal safety guards and labored carefully with American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Museveni’s deep Western political and army ties have for years cushioned him from direct criticism, whilst human rights teams criticized his crackdown on pro-democracy actions.

The electoral fee mentioned Mr. Museveni acquired greater than 5.8 million votes, or 58.6 p.c of the whole votes, whereas Mr. Wine acquired 3.4 million votes, or over 34 p.c of the whole votes. There have been 18.1 million registered voters out of a inhabitants of about 45 million.

Though Ugandan opposition candidates have faced 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 might do towards the machine” of what she referred to 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 individuals’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, using state institutions to persecute opposition leaders and deploying safety forces to intimidate civil society teams and the media.

As his energy grew to become extra entrenched, Mr. Museveni and people in his authorities grew to become increasingly more satisfied that they alone had “the fitting 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 individuals concerning the virtues of the previous 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 largest problem but to Mr. Museveni’s rule. Mr. Wine, whose actual title is Robert Kyagulanyi, referred to as on Mr. Museveni to resign and pointed to the corruption, persistent unemployment and poor public providers throughout the East African nation.

The authorities responded by arresting Mr. Wine — including on the day he filed for his candidacy in November — and charged him with violating restrictions to regulate the coronavirus pandemic.

The arrest of Mr. Wine and different opposition figures set off nationwide protests that led to the deaths of no less than 54 individuals as safety forces dispersed demonstrators. Because the marketing campaign heated up late final 12 months, Mr. Museveni accused the opposition of being backed by international “brokers” and “homosexuals,” and mentioned they wanted to start an “rebellion” that might sow chaos throughout the nation.

Citing authorities abuses, Mr. Wine in early January filed a case with the International Criminal Court towards Mr. Museveni and 9 high safety officers, accusing them of tried homicide and human rights violations.

On Saturday, Mr. Wine struck a defiant be aware, vowing to problem the ends in court docket 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 percent of its accreditation requests had been denied, pushing it to cancel its remark of the vote.

A report seen by The New York Instances, 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 containers 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 individuals from leaving or getting into his dwelling.

“The federal government is doing this to intimidate me, to verify I don’t communicate to the world,” he mentioned, including that he hoped that the worldwide neighborhood would rise up for Ugandans. “I’m glad the world is attending to see Museveni for who he’s.”