One of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, Yoweri Museveni, was declared the winner of Uganda’s presidential election by the country’s electoral commission on Saturday.
Museveni, who first took power in 1986, won with 58 percent of the vote and a sixth term in office while his main competitor, singer-turned-lawmaker Bobi Wine, trailed with 34 percent.
“The electoral commission declares Yoweri Museveni… elected President of the Republic of Uganda,” said commission chairman Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama.
He said turnout was 57.22 percent of almost 18 million registered voters.
Wine rejected the result of Thursday’s vote claiming that there had been widespread fraud.
He told the Reuters news agency that this had been “the most fraudulent election in the history of Uganda.”
The presidential challenger also said Friday that his home in the capital Kampala was under siege from government soldiers.
“I’ve tried to leave my compound and I’m being blocked by the military. They say they have orders not to let me leave,” Wine told Reuters.
The army’s deputy spokesman, Deo Akiiki, told Reuters that the security forces had been placed there for his own protection and were stopping him from leaving his home while assessing threats.
Wine said that he had video footage of electoral fraud which he would upload once his internet connection was returned.
The government shut down the internet the day before the election and has yet to end the blackout.
The United States and the European Union did not deploy observer teams, but the U.S. State Department’s top diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, said in a tweet early on Saturday (January 16) that the “electoral process has been fundamentally flawed.”
The 76-year-old Museveni was allowed to extend his 35-year rule following a change to the constitution.
Wine had galvanized young Ugandans against Museveni. Three-quarters of the country’s population is under 30 and many already knew the opposition candidate thanks to his songs about economic and social inequality.
The vote followed the East African country’s worst pre-election violence since Museveni first took office.
Wine and other opposition candidates were often beaten or harassed, and more than 50 people were killed when security forces put down riots in November over Wine’s arrest.