By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
President-elect Yoweri Museveni has accused the opposition, particularly the National Unity Platform (NUP) party of cheating in the recently-concluded general elections.
Museveni, who stood for presidency on the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party ticket, won the presidential race with 58% of the vote.
His closet challenger, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine of National Unity Platform (NUP) who according to the Electoral Commission, garnered 35% of the vote, dismissed the results, alleging the poll was rigged in favour of Museveni.
Kyagulanyi would later file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the annulment of the January 14 presidential election results. He later withdrew the case, accusing the Court of lack of impartiality.
While addressing the nation at State House Nakasero on Sunday, President Museveni commented on the matter for the first time and accused NUP of rigging.
“I couldn’t comment because there was a case in Court which had been taken there by Hon Kyagulanyi, saying that NRM had cheated them. On the contrary, it is the opposition especially this group of Kyagulanyi which cheated massively. Everybody in Uganda knows who cheated. It was Kyagulanyi’s group,” said Museveni.
The votes that Bobi Wine says had not been accounted for him, Museveni said, “are not there.”
“There was ballot stuffing massively here in Kampala and other parts of the country where we had weak organization. Of course ballot stuffing was helped by the weak organization of the NRM because some of them started ballot stuffing at 5 o’clock,” said Museveni.
The President also said “vicious intimidation by NUP supporters” in many areas especially in Buganda and Busoga, and also areas such as Mpigi, Mawokota, Kyotera, Kampala, Wakiso affected the NRM. “Burning of houses, burning of cars, cutting of banana plantations in some areas. All this is documented.’ Several Ministers who lost the MP polls accused NUP of threatening voters with violence if they elected NRM candidates, a claim Kyagulanyi’s party denies.
Museveni further accused the police of not intervening in the situation, saying some of the police officers had been bribed, and just looked on as opposition supporters committed crimes with “impunity.”
He, however, warned that those officers will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
“For instance in one area, NRM people were reporting that they were being attacked, and then the policeman told them that if you are attacked for putting on yellow, don’t put it on. ‘Don’t disturb us, for us we are not involved in politics.’ You are not involved in politics but your duty is to protect the law. So, all those policemen who did not do their duty, we shall go for them. They will be held accountable because they are the ones inciting these law breakers, thinking that they can break the law with impunity,’” charged Museveni.
This, he said was the reason why the military was deployed to oversee the election process.
He termed his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party as an “elephant,” adding that those who were “cheating; intimidating, attacking, just injured the ear of the elephant. The elephant is still standing and in charge.”
The suspects that were held, he said have provided a lot of information on the matter.
Museveni’s government has come under intense criticism over the mass arrests, detention without trial and torture of suspected opposition supporters.
Activists say security forces should have taken the suspected criminals to courts of law for trial.
Museveni urged “others who were involved in these criminalities to admit their mistakes, cooperate with security forces, apologize to ones who were attacked so that we go back to normal life. But this should never happen again.”
“As for the policemen who did not do their work, and the other corrupt people, we shall go for them. Those ones have no excuse.
They cannot work in Uganda Police neither can they be allowed to work in any other public office in Uganda. Because they abused their trust and they are a disgrace,” Museveni warned.