“All options remain open including court, political, dialogue, etc. We demand for independent audits of voters who actually voted”.
GULU-UGANDA: The main opposition party in Uganda, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), has rejected the results of the February 18, 2016 presidential elections and for some parliamentary seats.
The result, which put incumbent President Museveni winning with 5,617,503 of total vote casts (60.75%) percent, put FDC flag bearer, Dr. Kizza besigye coming second with a total of 3, 270,290 vote casts (35.37%) percent.
The election was held in an atmosphere of where “the National Resistance Movement (NRM) domination of the political landscape distorted the fairness of the campaigns”, says European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) in its preliminary report released February 20, 2016.
In a press release dated February 22, 2016, the FDC Vice President for northern Uganda. Mr. Reagan Okumu said the FDC have taken a stand to reject the results of the presidential elections and some parliamentary results and demand for independent audits of the voters who actually voted.
“The FDC party therefore have taken stand to reject the results of the presidential elections and some parliamentary results. We demand for independent audits of voters who actually voted. Biometric machines, which were used to verify identities of voters, cannot be manipulated”. The statement reads in parts.
Mr. Okumu complained that the 2016 national election has not been free and fair because there was a lot of interference into FDC campaign programs, open vote buying by serving army officers and the Electoral Commission (EC) remain impotent despite many reports with evidence. He said there was denial of access to government owned media and there was no clear flow of information from EC on candidates and to voters.
In its report the EUEOM noted that the tallying process was “slow and lack transparency” and said the arrest and continuous detention of Museveni’s main challenger, Kizza Besigye,” severely violates freedom of expression and that the EC lacks independence, transparency and trust of stakeholders”.
The United States of America mission in Uganda also released a report by the US Department of State deputy spokesperson Mr. Mark C. Toner on February 20, 2016, that the election was “deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process”.
“While the vote occurred without major unrest, we must acknowledge numerous reports of irregularities and official conduct that are deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process”. He said.
He encouraged those who may wish to contest the election results to do so peacefully and in accordance with Ugandan laws and judiciary process. He urged government of Uganda to respect the rights and freedoms of its people and to refrain from interference in those processes.
The head of the Commonwealth Observer Mission and former president of Nigerian, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, called for “dialogue” and “restrain” but observed “insufficiencies in the electoral process”.
“For the benefit of all Ugandans, I urge the government and opposition stakeholders to work together in a spirit of open and inclusive dialogue. The police and security forces and political party supporters should exercise restrains. Restrictions of movement and accessibility to all political leaders should be removed to allow for an atmosphere conducive for dialogue to prevail”. Obasanjo said in a statement.
Mr. Okumu, who has just been re-elected as Member of Parliament for Aswa County for the fourth consecutive time, said democracy is being undermined by President Museveni because he (Museveni) fears he would be prosecuted once he left power.
“Democracy in Uganda is being undermined by Museveni because he fears that if change comes, he will be prosecuted for ill-gotten wealth. Some people are holding Museveni hostage because how they got wealth is questionable. That is why we have not yet set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Uganda”. Okumu said. He said he has warned some opposition politicians against revenge against Museveni and his cronies to avoid a “vicious cycle” of revenge in Uganda.
Mr. Okumu warned that “all options remain open” for FDC including going to court, political actions, dialogues, among others.
“Election is not conclusive and the population should remain calm but on standby for the second vote. We demand for freedom and rights of access to gather evidence from the public electoral offices. We also demand for a stop to illegal blockage of FDC flag bearer at his residence”. The statement said in parts.
Dr. Besigye, the main challenger to Museveni, has been arrested , detained and released without charge four times in the last eight days for what police describes as “preventive arrest”.