Uganda polls: Museveni dismisses rigging claims

Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni, (Isaac Kasamani | AFP)

Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni

KAMPALA, Jan 18 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has dismissed claims that the just-concluded presidential elections, in which he won a sixth term in office, was rigged in his favour.

He warned the opposition that any attempt to disrupt social order will be dealt with decisively.

In a speech that had no kind words for western nations, foreign media, an unnamed neighbour and Ugandan opposition, Museveni said intimidation will not be tolerated in Uganda.

In an address to the nation from his Rwakitura home, Western Uganda, Museveni, who was declared the winner of the Thursday presidential election, said he is ready for dialogue with the opposition but only if they choose a non-violent path.

“If you are a friend we can engage but we don’t want intimidation,” he said warning that attempts to disrupt peace will be met decisively.

Museveni received 5.8 million votes, representing 58.6 per cent of the total vote cast to retain the seat he has held since January 1986.

The electoral commission asked all the other contestants to accept the outcome.

Musician Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, of the National Unity Platform (NUP) garnered 3.4 million votes, translating to 34 per cent of the vote.

Wine has rejected the outcome of the vote, describing the results as announced by the electoral commission as “fake”.

“I congratulate the people of Uganda for coming out in large numbers to vote but they must avoid violence,” the President said, declaring that Uganda’s match into the future is unstoppable.

He, however, reserved his harshest criticism to western nations which he accused of interfering in Uganda’s internal affairs, something he described as immoral.

“Foreign interference will not be tolerated,” he said, singling out western nations.

“When I talk about foreign interference I am not referring to China, India or Arabs states, I am referring to a mzungu because of their history of giving lectures to Africa,” he said, using a Kiswahili term that refers to a white man.

He also talked of a regional country he accused of meddling in the affairs of his country. “The country has been sending agents to meddle,” he said.

“Of course we have counteracted with their action but these meddlers from the region must stop.”

The foreign media was not spared by the veteran leader. He singled out BBC and Al jazeera for their reporting which he described as shallow.

In their pre-election analysis, the two media houses had suggested that the Ugandan population is mainly youthful and that Museveni would have lost if the turnout was high.

The veteran leader said: “There was indeed a high turnout and Mr Bobi Wine lost,” he said.

“This was shallow. These people must get serious. Why are they talking of the things they don’t know?” he said, adding that a majority of youth support the National Resistance Movement

Responding to the complaints that he has stayed in politics for too long and that it was time to clear his desk and go into retirement he said: “Yes, I have been in politics for 60 years. I have aims. If they are fulfilled I will retire. If they don’t I will stay around and with the support of the people of Uganda, I will continue to fight to realise these aims.”

Museveni said that he might not quit politics any time soon because of the elusive regional and African unity.

“If there was somebody else talking of the unity of Africa as loud as I am I will go, but I am here because no one is talking about it,” he said. — NNN-AGENCIES