Yoweri Museveni has won the election to the presidency of Uganda again. The 76-year-old president won 58 percent of the vote, reports the electoral college. His main opponent, the popular singer Bobi Wine, got stuck at 34 percent. Just over half of the 17 million voters made the way to the polls.
Wine accuses Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, of electoral fraud. He calls it “the most fraudulent elections in Uganda ever” and called on citizens to reject the outcome. The electoral committee said yesterday that he should come up with evidence of fraud.
Wine (38) was considered a strong opponent to the president. He has a large following among mainly young people from the cities. In these areas, frustration about unemployment and corruption is high. “Because he himself comes from a poor neighborhood in the capital of Kampala, many young people were able to move inside him,” says correspondent Elles van Gelder. “They call him the ghetto president.”
Van Gelder does make a comment on Winess approach to the elections. “His program was not very concrete. He was mainly in opposition.”
Internet has been flat for days
Over 17 million people were able to vote for a new president on Thursday. The election campaigns were marred by violence. Dozens of people were also arrested in Kampala who wanted to monitor the conduct of the elections.
Just before the elections, Internet traffic was shut down. At first, only Facebook was taken out of the sky, later everything was blocked..
“ While these were more than ever elections in which social media were important,” says Van Gelder. “It was important for Wine to get the youth behind it. Partly because of the blockade, the suspicion of fraud arose.” Journalists also struggled to bring stories out.
Van Gelder does not mean directly that Museveni did not win. “It is clear that it has not been transparent, but it does have a huge following, especially in rural areas.” Under Museveni, the economy has also grown considerably. “And people want stability. With Museveni, they know where they stand.”
The US wanted to send observers, but most of them were not granted visas from Uganda. The same applies to many foreign journalists. “The electoral process is fundamentally flawed,” tweeted the American diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy. He called for an immediate restoration of the internet connection in the country, and that the “US response depends on what Uganda does now”.
Wine claimed the election win yesterday. He claims to own a video with evidence of fraud and says “to use all legal options” to challenge the outcome, including peaceful protests.
He also tweeted yesterday that the army had invaded his house and that he is in “serious danger”. A spokesman for the army contradicts that. Wine has already been arrested several times together with his campaign team.
According to journalist Arne Doornebal, who is on the scene, Wine is now under house arrest. Doornebal stood in front of the house of Wine, but left because there was virtually nothing to see from the street. “We dont know whats going on inside,” he says. “Most likely, his phone was taken from him, because he hasnt tweeted in almost 24 hours.”
Doornebal thinks that by keeping Wine out of sight and keeping it from the Internet, few people will go out to the streets to protest. “From the perspective of the government, it is an effective tool.”
“Not a bad leader in the beginning.”
The journalist, who wrote a book about Museveni, says that at first the president was not a bad leader. He stood up as a freedom fighter and chased away dictators. Around 2000 the tipping point came, says the journalist.
In order to stay in power, Museveni has changed the law to be able to participate in presidential elections at a later age. And now hes accused of fraud. “It is interesting to see what Western countries think of this result. Are they okay with this or put their questions about it,” says Doornebal.
The big question is what will happen next on the street. Doornebal thinks that it will be easy for violence for the time being, partly because there are extremely many soldiers on their feet.
Check out this 2019 portrait of Bobi Wine: