Ugandan leader wins again, but critics say vote was fraudulent

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The Independent Online

Uganda's long-serving President, Yoweri Museveni, has won another term in office, the country's election commission said yesterday, but the main opposition leader claimed the vote was fraudulent and vowed to reject the results.

The electoral commission said Mr Museveni won 68 per cent of the votes cast in Friday's poll, allowing him to extend his 25-year hold on power. The commission said challenger Kizza Besigye – the President's former doctor – took 26 per cent of the vote. Badru Kiggundu, the electoral commission chairman, said 59 per cent of voters in the East African nation participated.

Mr Besigye has previously threatened Egypt-style protests if the results were not in line with what he and his supporters believe are the true returns. As the announcement approached yesterday, Mr Besigye pledged to work "to bring an end to the illegitimate government". But he stopped short of calling for street protests, saying he was still considering his options. Mr Museveni said last week that he would jail anyone who tried to spark Egypt-style unrest.

Mr Besigye alleged that widespread bribery, ballot-stuffing and harassment rendered the poll illegitimate: "[We] reject the outcome of the elections. [We] reject the leadership of Yoweri Museveni," he added.

Foreign election observers said there were serious flaws with the voting and the campaign, and that state resources were used to skew the elections in Mr Museveni's favour. "The power of incumbency was exercised to such an extent as to compromise severely the level playing field between the competing candidates," said Edward Scicluna, head of the EU monitoring mission.

Amama Mbabazi, of the ruling National Resistance Movement, described the results as "a great victory".