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Uganda Elections: Museveni in Early Lead as Uganda Awaits Final Election Results

Incumbent president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Friday morning made a leap towards sealing stay in office beyond 35 years after he steadily stretched lead over ten other candidates eyeing Uganda’s presidency, including closest challenger and National unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.

Mr Museveni, 76, eclipsed 1.5 million votes while opposition front-runner and NUP presidential candidate, Bobi Wine had gained but was still trailing with 647,146 votes (27.39 percent), according to Electoral Commission’s (EC)  second batch of provisional results.

The race remains tight and too early to call with results in- accounting for just over 23.69 per cent of the total 34,684 polling centres spread across the country but Bobi Wine Thursday hinted on possibility of rejecting results in election that was marred by gross irregularities.

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“The results the EC boss Simon Byabakama puts out are his business. We are in this to win,” Bobi Wine told the press in Magere, Wakiso District, shortly after voting.

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Parts of Kampala metropolitan, a traditional opposition swing territory, reported cases of delayed voting and technological difficulties in using Biometric Voter Verification Machines. Also, a ballot box was Thursday stolen in Ntungamo.

“EC had over four years to prepare for this election. They say they delivered voting materials to areas over 500km away from Kampala but failed to deliver in their own backyard. There must be a wrong plan,” voter Kenneth Kanaabi, 25, said.

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The social media, digital trends and citizen journalism evolution were faced with unfamiliarly heightened forces of a complete shutdown as heavy security was also maintained throughout the country.

Several other opposition figures all week-long expressed intent to trash results, should they swing in veteran leader, Mr Museveni’s direction by any chances of electoral malpractices.

“We warn Byabakama. He should know that he has an obligation to Ugandans not just Museveni,” FDC presidential candidate, Mr Patrick Amuriat said Thursday.

NRM presidential candidate Museveni- who has been in power since 1986, has a historical cycle of winning in elections that have overly been rejected by opposition and at some point international observers highlighting irregularities.

Independent presidential candidate Ms Nancy Kalembe said she was optimistic that “Museveni would surrender and allow peaceful transition after election defeat.”

The January 14 election is largely seen by opposition figures as a crucial ‘revolution and referenda vote’ on whether Mr Museveni who has been in power since 1986 can extend his rule to four decades or not.

“This election is significant for a country that has to be set free from a reckless regime,” ANT presidential candidate, Gen Mugisha Muntu said.

Uganda went into elections still in the aftershock of deadly November 18/19 protests that claimed over 50 people following the arrest of Bobi Wine in the eastern district Luuka District. The protests exposed Uganda’s electoral violence and scores of people have gone on to die with thousands of opposition supporters in detention.

According to Mr Byabakama, Thursday’s election had been conducted “largely peacefully across the country.”

The electoral body he leads is now tasked by the constitution to declare final results within 48 hours after closure of polls.

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