2021 Ugandan general election
General elections were held in Uganda on 14 January 2021 to elect the President and the Parliament. Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled the country since 1986, won his sixth term amid election violence and allegations of fraud with 58.64% of the votes. Voter turnout was 57%.
The President of Uganda is elected using the two-round system, with candidates needing to receive at least 50% of the vote to be elected in the first round. Chapter 142 of the Presidential Elections Act of 2000 stipulates that presidential candidates must be a citizen of Uganda by birth and be qualified to be an MP. Candidates are also required to be of sound mind and have no formal connection with the Electoral Commission of Uganda. Term limits were abolished in 2005. The elections are supervised by the Electoral Commission of Uganda.
The Parliament of Uganda has a total of 529 seats, including 353 representatives elected using first-past-the-post voting in single winner constituencies. Using the same method, 146 seats reserved for women are filled, with one seat per district. Finally, 30 seats are indirectly filled via special electoral colleges: 10 by the army, 5 by youths, 5 by elders, 5 by unions, and 5 by people with disabilities. In each of these groups, at least one woman must be elected (at least two for the army group).
Eleven candidates were registered to contest in the election.
- Yoweri Museveni, National Resistance Movement
- Bobi Wine, National Unity Platform
- John Katumba, Independent
- Willy Mayambala, Independent
- Fred Mwesigye, Independent
- Henry Tumukunde, Independent
- Joseph Kabuleta, Independent
- Nancy Kalembe, Independent
- Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Forum for Democratic Change
- Mugisha Muntu, Alliance for National Transformation
- Norbert Mao, Democratic Party
Campaigning was stopped in Mbarara, Kabarole, Luweero, Kasese, Masaka, Wakiso, Jinja, Kalungu, Kazo, Kampala City and Tororo on 26 December 2020. The government said it was to prevent spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, but critics said it was because of the popularity of the opposition in those areas. Crowds had previously been limited to 200 people.
The European Union says it will not deploy observers (EOM—election observer mission) because previous recommendations have been ignored.
Arrests of Bobi Wine
On 18 November 2020, opposition candidate Bobi Wine was arrested for allegedly violating COVID-19 protocols during his presidential campaign in Uganda. The National Unity Platform claimed that the continued arrests of its members were intended to stifle their ability to campaign rather than to follow COVID protocols. Supporters of Wine took to the streets of Kampala, clashing with security forces. This led to violent protests in which 100 people died and more than 500 were injured.
Wine was arrested again on 30 December on Kalangala Island, where a rally he was holding was cut short by police. Police broke up the rally using tear gas and Wine was put under house arrest at his home in Kampala. During his campaign, several aides, bodyguards and members of his entourage have been arrested, jailed and killed.
Social media and internet block
On 13 January 2021, a day before the elections and a day after Facebook closed "fake" accounts it said were linked to the government, the communications regulator in Uganda ordered all telecoms firms to block access to social media and messaging apps in retaliation. The Ugandan government denied the charges and accused Facebook of meddling in the election saying "I think they are playing the usual games, we know that they have a side in this election perhaps."
At 5 pm on 13 January, the government ordered a complete internet shut-down, which came into effect at 7 pm. Amnesty International's deputy regional director condemned the move, saying that it was "clearly intended to silence the few accredited election observers, opposition politicians, human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and bloggers who are monitoring the elections".
Allegations of fraud
On 15 January (the day after the election), Bobi Wine announced that Ugandan security forces had surrounded and breached his compound after he had alleged that the elections had been "marred by fraud and violence". Earlier in the day, partial results released by the Electoral Commission purported to show incumbent president Museveni leading Bobi Wine with over 62% of the vote to Wine's 29%.
Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, chair of the Electoral Commission, declared Museveni the winner of the presidential election on 16 January, stating that he won 59% of the vote, with Wine taking 35%. Voter turnout was 57%. Byabakama said that it had been a peaceful election. Speaking before the results were announced, Wine told reporters that it was "the most fraudulent election in the history of Uganda" and also accused Museveni of putting him "under siege", as security forces surrounded his home. Museveni denied these claims in a televised address after being proclaimed the winner, saying that the votes had been machine-counted and that it "may turn out to be the most cheating-free election since 1962". Byabakama challenged Wine to provide evidence for his allegations of fraud.
|Yoweri Museveni||National Resistance Movement||5,851,037||58.64|
|Bobi Wine||National Unity Platform||3,475,298||34.83|
|Patrick Oboi Amuriat||Forum for Democratic Change||323,536||3.24|
|Mugisha Muntu||Alliance for National Transformation||65,334||0.65|
|Norbert Mao||Democratic Party||55,665||0.56|
|Source: Daily Monitor|
|National Resistance Movement|
|National Unity Platform|
|Forum for Democratic Change|
|Uganda People's Congress|
|Uganda Federal Alliance|
|People's Progressive Party|
|Forum for Integrity in Leadership|
|Social Democratic Party|
|Popular People's Democracy|
|People's Development Party|
|Liberal Democratic Transparency|
|Green Partisan Party|
|Uganda Economic Party|
|Uganda People's Defence Force||–||–||–||–||–||–||10||10||0|
Tanzania's president John Magufuli congratulated Museveni on his reelection victory. Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Museveni, and in a statement published as a Facebook post, termed President Yoweri Museveni’s re-election as a testimony of the confidence the people of Uganda have in his leadership. The post (specifically the part that mentioned Museveni having announced a cabinet shuffle) was flagged by Facebook and termed as "false information" and was subsequently deleted by the page administrators. The same congratulatory message was published on State House Kenya's Twitter handle and subsequently deleted. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's Sovereignty Council and the nation's transitional head of state, also congratulated Museveni.
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