Ugandan media reported today that the election was ‘deadly’ and has claimed over 50 lives so far in poll-related violence. President Yoweri Museveni in the lead with over 62% of the vote, while Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has just over 29%.

Ugandan media also reported that Presidential candidate Robert hinted on possibility of rejecting results, amid alleged election irregularities and violence.

In addition to alleged irregularities, there was a total Internet shutdown on voting day, ordered by the government, which led to difficulties in accessing information about the voting process in different parts of the country. Ugandan media reported that during a press conference on Wednesday, the Electoral  Commission chairperson, Justice Byabakama, said the relaying and tallying of results would not be affected by the Internet shut down and that the commission would use other systems to transmit the results.

The lead-up to the election

In November 2020, Uganda had some of the most violent riots witnessed in the last decade. The riots began when opposition hopeful Robert Ssentamu was arrested as government authorities accused him of not following COVID-19 regulations.

In the lead-up to the 14 January 2021 elections, Mr Ssentamu’s car was shot at by police in eastern Uganda during his campaign, and his supporters have faced numerous obstacles including assault.

Ugandan musician-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi addresses the media after his car was shot at by police in eastern Uganda during his campaign. Photo by Sumy Sadurni/AFP via Getty Images.

Is the world watching?

While there have been various condemnations of the violence in the lead-up to the election, it is as yet unclear what steps will be taken in the matter, inside or outside of Uganda.

“A lot of work has already been done to create a common framework for democracy in Africa. That framework will remain hollow if those who can speak up remain silent when they see it violated. The 2007 African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) is an agreement by African states with a mandate of strengthening democracy across the continent” says political analyst Jamie Mighti.

The Electoral  Commission is tasked by the constitution to declare final results within 48 hours of closure of polls.

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