Bobi Wine Claims Win "Massively" In Uganda Vote Marred By State Violence

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Bobi Wine spoke to reporters. Photo: Facebook. 

Uganda's leading opposition candidate Bobi Wine told journalist Friday that he had comfortably won Uganda's violence-marred elections in which state security forces have killed at least 54 people.

The international community condemned the killing of opposition candidates by soldiers and police, attacks against journalists, and a total internet and social media shutdown by the state.

The U.S. bankrolls the regime of Gen. Yoweri Museveni, the country's dictator of 34 years with $1 billion in annual support, but two influential senators, Bob Menendez and Chris Coons, both Demcorats, have called for a review of aid, and targeted sanctions against military and political officials responsible for the violence. The incoming Joe Biden administration will likely take up the call. "I am very confident that we defeated the dictator by far. I call upon all Ugandans to reject the blackmail," Bobi Wine told reporters, speaking outside his home in Kampala, the capital. "We have certainly won the election and we've won it by far."

 

The 38-year-old member of Parliament, businessman, and popular musician whose given name is Robert Kyagulanyi, helped register millions of young new voters. Eighty percent of the country's population is under the age of 35, and youth turnout has reportedly been high. The demographics favor the leading challenger and he dismissed reports by the Election Commission (EC), which is handpicked by Gen. Yoweri Museveni, the country's dictator of 34 years that the incumbent was leading, with 29% of the unofficial vote tallies in.

 

The internet has been shutdown since Tuesday and Bobi Wine's opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party has been unable to upload its own vote tracking data based on copies of the official Declaration forms from polling stations. The data could eventually help verify any inconsistencies with the Election Commission's results. The EC claims preliminary returns show Museveni up 63% to 28%.

 

Bobi Wine said Ugandans voted "massively for change of leadership from a dictatorship to a democratic government." He added: "But Mr. Museveni is trying to paint a picture that he is in the lead. What a joke!" More preliminary results from the EC are expected today and final results by Saturday.

 

The U.S. diplomatic mission pulled out Wednesday from observing the election after Uganda refused to provide accreditation to 75% of its team. In a statement, the U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Natalie E. Brown said, "Absent the robust participation of observers, particularly Ugandan observers who are answerable to their fellow citizens, Uganda’s elections will lack the accountability, transparency and confidence that observer missions provide."

 

The EU, which observed the 2016 vote, didn't send a delegation this year after all of its recommendations, including the creation of an independent Election Commission, were rejected by Gen. Museveni.

The African Union, which generally rubber-stamps elections in Africa, has sent an observer team.

Other major candidates in the election are Patrick Amuriat of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), who has also been attacked and arrested, Mugisha Muntu, of the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), and Norbert Mao, of the Democratic Party (DP).

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