Museveni yet to share election rigging evidence – NRM, State House officials

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President Yoweri Museveni

Kampala, Uganda | URN | President Yoweri Museveni is yet to share detailed information revealing how pop-star turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine, the former National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate engaged in rigging the January 14th, 2021 polls.

Speaking during his nationwide address on Sunday 14, March 2021 evening, Mr Museveni said “everybody in Uganda knows who cheated. It was Mr Kyagulanyi’s group. It was ballot-stuffing, massive rigging in other parts of the country led by youth organisations.”

However, Senior Presidential Press Secretary, Don Wanyama told this publication that he is not privy to details of the vote-rigging evidence that the president has received. This evidence, he says has not been shared.   

“I don’t think there is a place that you can walk to and say where this information is,” Don Wanyama says. “He has an eagle’s view. He is able to collect information from different sources. I am sure this is information that is exclusive to him.”

Emmanuel Dombo, the Director of Communication of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), equally says the party has not received details of election rigging information that the president referred to. He also refers to the briefing that the president gets from intelligence units that are not shared with other people.

But Dombo says in a previous meeting chaired by the president, there was a reference to an incident in Mawokota where young people confessed to having been ferried from Kampala to vote in the area. “How they did it, I don’t know, what specifics, I don’t know,” Dombo says.

Asked why the party has not pursued litigation in areas where it was cheated, Dombo said, “For the presidential, its inconsequential, even when we were cheated, we won.” And for parliamentary races, Dombo said, “we shall encourage our Members of Parliament where such evidence is available to file petitions against those who may have been elected.”

In December, the office of the NRM National Chairperson launched a vote protection team that would ensure that Mr Museveni’s votes are not stolen. Saleh Kamba, the head of Political Intelligence and Operations in the office of the NRM National chairperson who launched the vote protection team is reluctant to say whether they have collected any information pinning NUP on rigging. He claimed that he has no listened to what the president said and therefore cannot comment.

“I was not on Radio or TV at that time. So I need to first listen to it and contextualize it before I speak,” Kamba says. “I want to understand exactly, what he was meaning.” The president’s claim leaves many questions unanswered: what is the extent of evidence he has? Where did rigging happen? Was it at the presidential or parliamentary level?

Scrutinizing election results, this publication discovered that the president’s scores were entered incorrectly at four polling stations as per Electoral Commission tally sheets. At two polling stations in Tororo districts, Mr Museveni polled 252 votes yet the tally sheets show that he got zero. Mr Museveni scored 100 votes at St. Kizito Primary School (N-Z) and 152 votes at Nyambulie polling station.

The other two polling stations where the president’s votes were not tallied by Electoral Commission (EC) are in Wakiso.

Bobi Wine’s win claim

Last week, Mr Kyagulanyi also claimed that NUP is in possession of “DR forms that prove that we won the election (presidential) by 54.19%, despite the massive ballot stuffing and other forms of rigging. But NUP has not provided evidence to back this claim.

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Speaking to media at the party headquarters shortly after Mr Museveni’s claims, Mr Kyagulanyi said that it is “laughable” that Mr Museveni is claiming they rigged him. With such claims, he says Mr Museveni should agree to the international audit they have been demanding or that January 14th election should be annulled and another organized.

As allegations of vote-rigging continue to swirl from both NRM and NUP, independent election observer Crispin Kaheru says the prescription for election fraud lies in the enactment of electoral reforms that are intended to completely seal any loopholes that exist in Uganda’s electoral system.

“We know-how electoral malpractices or fraud manifests themselves through ballot stuffing, voter bribery, manipulation of results,” he says.