Incumbent Yoweri Museveni declared winner of Uganda presidential election

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Yoweri Museveni has been declared the winner of the Uganda presidential election with 58.64% of the total votes, according to the country’s electoral commission.

The incumbent will now serve a sixth term as president of the east African nation following some of the worst pre-election violence since the 76-year-old took office in 1986.

His main opposition, singer Bobi Wine, has alleged vote-rigging throughout the process and had strong support in urban centres where frustration with unemployment and corruption remains high. He won 3.48 million votes, or 34.8% of the total, according to the commission.

Bobi Wine's trademark red beret has become a symbol of opposition to longtime President Yoweri Museveni.
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Opposition candidate Bobi Wine was assaulted and arrested several times during the election campaign

Mr Wine and other opposition candidates were often harassed, and more than 50 people were killed when security forces halted riots in November after he was arrested.

Although Mr Museveni holds on to power, at least 15 of his cabinet ministers including the vice president Edward Ssekandi were voted out, with many losing to candidates from Mr Wine’s party, according to local media.

Mr Wine, real name Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, claimed victory on Friday and said he had video evidence of vote-rigging and insisted “every legal option is on the table” to challenge the election results.

He was beaten up and arrested several times during the election campaign but was never convicted of any charge. He later wore a flak jacket and said he feared for his life.

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On Saturday, Mr Wine said his home in the capital Kampala had been surrounded by soldiers and the military was not allowing him to leave.

He has also claimed to have video evidence of voting fraud, which he says he will share as soon as internet connections are restored in the country. The government ordered the internet to be shut down the day before the election on Thursday, and that blackout remains in place.

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‘I survived gun attacks more than once’

The army’s deputy spokesman, Deo Akiiki, told Reuters that security officers were assessing threats to Mr Wine if left his home.

Monitoring of the elections has been hit by the arrest of independent observers and the denial of accreditation for members of the UN observer mission.

Tibor Nagy, the top US diplomat for Africa, tweeted on Saturday that “Uganda’s electoral process has been fundamentally flawed”, adding that the “US response hinges on what the Ugandan government does now”.

Ugandan media has reported that 56 candidates from Mr Wine’s National Unity Platform has won seats in the parliamentary election. The Forum for Democratic Change, previously the largest opposition party, has so far won 34.

Analysis: Despite his win, the president will not be able to rest on his laurels

By John Sparks, Africa correspondent

The presidential election result in Uganda will not come as a surprise to many, even Bobi Wine’s most dedicated supporters.

The Electoral Commission said 58% of registered voters had opted for President Yoweri Museveni while 35% backed the youthful upstart, who fired up millions of younger voters during the campaign.

The commission said voter turnout was 52%.

Mr Wine enjoys huge support in urban areas but Mr Museveni has retained support from rural voters.

Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986. File pic
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Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986. File pic

Importantly Mr Museveni, who has ruled the country since 1986, effectively controls the agencies of the state including the national broadcaster and the Electoral Commission itself – the body which organised and calculated the results.

Mr Wine has already called the election “a sham”, but it is important to note that he has won 3.5 million votes – a significant section of the electorate and his party, the National Unity Platform, has performed well in the parliamentary election.

Twenty-five government ministers have lost their constituencies, including the vice president Edward Ssekandi.

He was so shocked by his defeat, according to local news reports, that he was admitted to hospital in his home district outside Kampala.

A Bobi Wine supporter carrying a campaign poster during protests
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A Bobi Wine supporter carrying a campaign poster during protests in November

Ultimately, the poor showing at the polls by Mr Museveni’s National Resistance Movement means little for the president himself.

He will continue to dominate parliament in Uganda and will simply appoint new ministers from those party members who have won.

The electorate has sent the 76-year-old a message of increasing unhappiness, with rising numbers of people frustrated with the economy and lack of future prospects in a country whose population is growing at an exceptional rate.

Despite his win, Mr Museveni will not be able to rest on his laurels, as more Ugandans demand change.

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