21 Feb 2011

Rival disputes re-election of Ugandan president

10:00 am on 21 February 2011

President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled Uganda for 25 years, has won the country's presidential election with 68% of the vote.

Mr Museveni's rival, Kizza Besigye, who won 26%, is refusing to accept the results, saying the election was rigged.

The governing party has been accused of using state resources to bribe voters.

Mr Besigye earlier threatened to call street protests if he felt the process was not free and fair. Mr Museveni, for his part, has vowed to stop any street protests.

Even before the final result was announced, Mr Besigye said it was "very clear there were widespread malpractices in the electoral process".

The BBC reports that Mr Museveni's victory comes as no great surprise. He was helped by a divided opposition, and the advantage of incumbency are great.

The governing party spent such a huge amount of money on the campaign trail that some analysts say the Ugandan economy is bound to take a significant hit.

Pair used to be allies

Mr Besigye was standing against Mr Museveni for the third time. The pair were allies in the guerrilla war that brought the latter to power in 1986 but later fell out.

Mr Museveni has defeated his challengers every five years since 1996, though his support was steadily declining before this election.

He got about 75% of the vote in 1996 but only 59% in 2006.

The European Union's chief election observer, Edward Sciclunam says he's generally happy with what he witnessed.

"We are glad to observe that no significant violence has taken place and the process is done in a peaceful manner," he says.