2 March 2011

Uganda: Fury as Besigye Announces Own Results

Kampala — Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader Dr. Kizza Besigye came under attack yesterday after announcing his own set of presidential election results that put his tally ahead of President Museveni - already declared winner by the Electoral Commission.

From a country sampling of 2.3 million voters - a third of the country's polling stations, Dr Besigye said he took 1,040,372 votes representing 46.95 percent, while President Museveni came in second with 994,862 votes, representing 44.89 percent.

National Resistance Movement (NRM) Deputy Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo flatly disregarded yesterday's announcement as a last ditch effort by the opposition candidate. "Dr. Besigye has reached ridiculous levels to be believed, he is at the end of his journey," he said. "He is now fit to join dramatics."

The Electoral Commission (EC) spokesperson Charles Willy Ochola held the official line, saying their announcement last week awarding President Museveni 68 percent and giving Besigye 26 percent, stands. "We don't even refute or deny them - those are their own results," he said.

Mr Ochola said the Declaration Results (DR) forms the FDC used to compile their results were not valid as they did not come from the EC, and that despite the EC officer signatures on them, they are not evidence of rigging at the polls. "The EC must be the ones to collect, tally and verify," he said.

Information Minister Masiko Kabakumba went as far as to question Besigye's sanity. "Don't you think he is mad? We have full results and he is taking us far," she said. "He should accept the decision that has been made by Ugandans in a true and democratic manner... we cannot accept anarchy in Uganda."

Though President Museveni threatened Besigye's arrest in December should he announce his own results, the Electoral Commission (EC) later approved the move, as long as the independent results were provisional.

Opondo referred any disputes to the Supreme Court. Though Besigye has said he will not return to the courts as he feels they failed him in both the 2001 and 2006 contested elections, he once again called to the public for peaceful protests against an "illegitimate government."

Addressing journalists at IPC headquarters on a panel with his wife Winnie Byanyima and IPC chairperson Rubaramira Ruranga among others, Besigye also warned against government officials who recently threatened to shut down any peaceful protests. "The IPC/FDC does not take lightly their threats to crush peaceful demonstrations," he said. "We will refer these threats to the International Criminal Court - the time for repressive rule in this country is over."

Besigye said the party will also petition the African Union (AU), who he says are bound to the same constitutive act and who after observing Uganda's elections agreed they were not free or fair. "We expect them to stop an illegitimate Mr. Museveni taking up the Ugandan seat at the AU purporting to represent us in au deliberations," he said. "The AU - if it does not do so it is also on trial."

Besigye gave a number of example DR forms. One, from Kyasano Ndorwa, awarded Museveni 492 votes, despite the total number of ballot papers issued to the station being 450. He said he received only 25, and there were also 10 unissued papers.

"Many of our strongholds especially in northern and Eastern Uganda are not included in this count. We challenge the EC to avail us all the DR forms that were the basis of the results it declared. We will also continue to seek our DR forms from our agents to get a fuller picture of how the election was stolen," he said.

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