Uganda`s President leads big in early vote returns

Uganda`s poll results showed President Yoweri Museveni with a huge lead over his nearest rival.

Kampala: Early returns from
Uganda`s presidential election announced on Saturday showed
President Yoweri Museveni with a huge lead over his nearest
rival, making it likely that he will extend his 25-year hold
on power.

With 17 per cent of the vote counted, Museveni had
about 71 per cent of the ballots cast. His top rival, Kizza
Besigye, had about 22 per cent of the votes.

Electoral Commission chairman Badru Kiggundu said he
expected officials to work through 50 per cent of the ballots
cast by today. Final results are to be announced tomorrow.

Kiggundu said counting was going smoothly but he said
there had been some problems on voting day. John Mary Odoy,
director of Democracy Monitoring Group, said several
abnormalities were reported during Friday`s vote, including
ballots pre-marked for Museveni`s party and observers being
refused access to polling stations.

"There is no election in the world that is 100 percent
without problems," Kiggundu said. "We are only five years into
the current multiparty system."

Museveni, an ex-rebel commander who seized power at
the head of a guerrilla army in 1986, once criticised African
rulers who clung to power. But he sought another five-year
term as a president who has fostered peace, stability and

Museveni, who is vague about his age and is either 66
or 67, has mostly escaped the wrath recently aimed at other
long-serving African leaders.

Kizza Besigye plans to release his own tally of
results and is threatening Egypt-style unrest if the results
are out of line with his backers` expectations.

Besigye insists Uganda is ready for popular revolt.
Museveni has said there will be no Egypt-style protests in his
country and that he will jail anyone who attempts to spark

While previous election campaigns were marred by
violence against opposition candidates, observers say Museveni
allowed opposition candidates a freer hand to campaign this
year, perhaps thinking that allowing true competition would
win him points with voters.


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