Museveni Leads Uganda Presidential Race With Most Votes Counted

  • Incumbent has 62% of vote; Opposition leader Besigye has 34%
  • Handling of vote criticized by EU, HRW after opposition arrest

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni is on track to extend his 30-year rule on Saturday after winning 62 percent of the presidential vote at a late stage of the count.

Main opposition leader Kizza Besigye had a 34 percent share after 24,347 out of 28,010 polling stations had been counted, Electoral Commission Chairman Badru Kiggundu told reporters in the capital, Kampala. The result is expected to be announced by 4 p.m. local time. Museveni had about 5.2 million votes, or about a third of those registered to take part in the election.

Yoweri Museveni
Yoweri Museveni
Photographer: Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images

Museveni, 71, has ruled Africa’s biggest coffee exporter since 1986. Besigye, who’s lost to Museveni in three previous elections, is one of seven candidates challenging him. Uganda’s handling of the elections has been called into question by the European Union and Human Rights Watch after Besigye was arrested on accusations he plans to announce his own vote tally. Besigye is being prevented from leaving his house or receiving visitors, his Forum for Democratic Change party said on its Twitter account.

Ugandan authorities created an atmosphere of intimidation in the run up to and during Thursday’s vote, while the country’s electoral commission lacks independence and the trust of the people, the European Union’s chief observer, Eduard Kukan, told reporters in Kampala.

He described Friday’s arrest of Besigye at his party headquarters as “unacceptable” and said the authorities’ block of some social media had curbed freedom of expression.

Uganda has no legal means to ensure a level playing field for the elections, Kukan said. The commission has vowed to hold a credible vote and dismissed allegations of bias.

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