Fraud Alleged as Uganda President Reelected

From Times Wire Services

Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni won a landslide victory in an election that independent monitors said was flawed but mostly fair.

The news Wednesday was greeted by tens of thousands of people marching through the streets of Kampala, the capital, honking horns and chanting "No change!" But Museveni's main challenger said he will go to the courts to nullify the election, which he charged was riddled with fraud.

Local observers reported serious irregularities in Monday's balloting but said they were not widespread enough to change the outcome. International observers have yet to give their verdict, but some have said they believe that there were irregularities.

"People voted during the day, and the votes were counted in broad daylight. I do not accept that there was rigging," Electoral Commission Chairman Aziz Kasujja said.

At sunset, a small parcel bomb exploded at a downtown vegetable market, killing one person and injuring six, police said. It was not immediately clear whether the blast was related to the election.

Museveni, who came to power in 1986 after fighting a five-year guerrilla war, won 69% of the vote, Kasujja said. His closest rival, Kizza Besigye, won 28%. The remainder was split among four other candidates. Turnout was 70%.

Besigye, Museveni's former ally who ran on an anti-corruption platform, said that his election team had rejected the results in 23 out of 56 districts and that the electoral fraud was "massive."

"We will [challenge the results] using all the means at our disposal, both legal and political," Besigye said. "We are back to square one. We do not have a legitimate government in place."

Museveni, in turn, said Besigye was responsible for "massive vote-rigging," adding, "I am sure our real vote is likely 75%."

The president said his political movement could not have rigged the election because civil servants--who he said oppose his government--ran the vote. He said that Besigye was welcome to file a complaint with the High Court.

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