Uganda’s opposition party has dismissed the results of the country’s presidential election, dismissing the results as “fraud” and calling for the release of their leader, Bobi Wine, who has allegedly been under house arrest since polling day.
President Yoweri Museveni won a sixth five-year term, extending his rule to four decades, according to official results announced on Saturday.
Uganda’s military continued to hold top opposition challenger Mr Wine at his home, saying troops were there to protect him.
Mr Wine dismissed Mr Museveni’s victory as “cooked-up, fraudulent results”, while his party urged the government to release him.
Mr Wine said on Sunday that he had proof that he actually won the election.
“We were leading General Museveni by a very large margin, so large that he could not recover,” Mr Wine said in a phone call to international journalists from his home.
“Our polling agents have proof of our victory,” Mr Wine said.
“We have proof that the military carried out voting fraud but we cannot publish these videos because the internet is cut and because the military is chasing our polling agents.”
Mr Wine said his party, the National Unity Platform, had video evidence of the military stuffing ballot boxes, casting ballots for people and chasing voters away from polling stations.
He tweeted on Sunday that military units were not allowing him and his wife, Barbie, from leaving their house, not even to harvest food from their garden.
“It’s now four days since the military surrounded our home and placed my wife and I under house arrest,” Mr Wine’s tweet stated.
“We have run out of food supplies and when my wife tried to pick food from the garden yesterday, she was blocked and assaulted by the soldiers staged in our compound.”
Mr Wine said that while he and his wife were being held captive at their property, they were concerned about the safety of his party’s polling agents and other supporters.
“We are detained at our house, while others have been abducted and are missing. The military is conducting a massive campaign to arrest our agents. Many are on the run.”
Mr Wine said that he and his supporters were pursuing a legal and peaceful challenge to Mr Museveni.
“What we are doing is moral and right. We are doing this legally and non-violently. So many people are paying the price for standing up for what is moral and what is right for Uganda. Forty-five million Ugandans are yearning for peaceful change, to redefine our country and our democracy,” he said.
Mr Wine’s opposition party called on all Ugandans “to reject this fraud … This is a revolution and not an event. A revolution of this nature cannot be stopped by a fraudulent election”.
The opposition party said in a statement on Sunday that its “quest for a free Uganda is on despite the current attack on free speech and association”, referring to the days-long shutdown of the internet by the government.
The party urged its followers to use every “constitutionally available avenue” to pursue political change.
Uganda’s electoral commission said that Mr Museveni received 58% of the vote to Mr Wine’s 34%, with a voter turnout of 52%.
Although Mr Museveni stays in power, at least nine of his Cabinet ministers, including the vice president, were defeated in the parliamentary elections, many losing to candidates from Mr Wine’s party, local media reported.
In a generational clash watched across the African continent with a booming young population and a host of aging leaders, the 38-year-old singer-turned-lawmaker Mr Wine posed arguably the greatest challenge yet to Mr Museveni, 76, since he came to power in 1986.
Calling himself the “ghetto president”, Mr Wine had strong support in Uganda’s cities, where frustration with unemployment and corruption is high.
Mr Museveni dismissed the claims of vote-rigging.