Electoral chief gets tough on opposition

2011-02-17 13:01

Kampala – Uganda’s election commission warned the opposition not to go ahead with plans to publish its own results from tomorrow’s polls, saying any pre-emptive announcement would be unacceptable.

“The power to declare results of the presidential elections (sic) is vested with the national electoral commission,” the organisation’s head, Badru Kiggundu, said today.

“Any attempt by individuals and organisations to assume such powers shall be a violation of the Constitution, which is not acceptable,” he added.

Nearly 14 million Ugandans are registered to elect their members of parliament and their president in tomorrow’s contest.

A total of eight candidates are in the running for the presidential poll, with incumbent Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for the past 25 years, widely expected to clinch re-election.

Museveni’s main opponent, his former physician Kizza Besigye, has accused the incumbent of planning fraud and wants to pre-empt any such attempt.

Besigye’s camp has therefore said it plans to deploy almost one million agents during the poll, to come up with its own tally and to announce its own results as early as Saturday, that is 24 hours before the electoral commission is legally obliged to make results public.

“Candidates, political parties and media houses are advised to desist from announcing any results that have not been verified and declared by the electoral commission,” Kiggundu warned.

Asked more specifically about Besigye, the electoral agency chief said: “What more do you want me to say. I’ve quoted you the law. He’s a citizen of this country who must oblige the law. I stop there.”

Police chief Kale Kayihura called on electors to turn out massively to vote, saying their safety was assured.

“There will be no post-election violence,” he said, warning any potential troublemakers: “we are ready for them.” 

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