A week after the presidential election and six days after declaring incumbent Yoweri Kaguta Museveni as the winner, the Electoral Commission (EC) has not published the results. This is in stark contrast with the 2016 presidential election results which were published two days after declaring Museveni as the winner.
Museveni was announced the winner on Saturday after polling 5.85 million votes equivalent to 58.64 per cent, while his closest challenger Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine of National Unity Platform (NUP) polled won 3.48 million votes equivalent 34.83 per cent.
At the start of this week, Electoral Commission spokesperson, Paul Bukenya told URN that the results would be published mid this week after completing what he called the “finalization process” of scrutinizing data that came in from districts.
There were indications that results were about to be uploaded on the EC website; on Wednesday, a section of the 2021 General Elections results was created on the EC site. This section, which was under Elections and Results has now been deleted.
Bukenya says the “finalization process” is still ongoing. And once its completed, he says, the results will be published in the gazette and uploaded on their site. He gave no precise answer on when it is likely to happen. He said finalization means “final ascertaining and preparing to sign off documents.”
The 2005 Presidential Election Act stipulates that the “commission shall ascertain, publish and declare in writing under its seal the results of the presidential election within forty-eight hours from the close of polling.” But it is ambiguous on when results should be published in the gazette. It says “the commission shall, as soon as practicable after each presidential election, produce a detailed report on the conduct of the election.”
This delay has implications: for instance, Bobi Wine rejected the election results and is mulling litigation to challenge the results. Without granular data of election results, he may not have substantial evidence to make a good case in court.
Crispin Kaheru, an independent Election Observer says “it’s important that tallying of election results is completed as soon as possible” preferably 48hrs after the close of voting. This is the timeframe for declaration of the winner. He says such delay disadvantages “those who would want to use results for further actions such as filing court cases.”
Investigation of ballot stuffing videos
Bukenya said the EC has started an investigation of about seven videos that have been circulating on social media showing some people ticking more than one ballot paper. He says that the commission is investigating if “those materials” belong to the EC and if they were supposed to be used in the just concluded election.
There have also been nerve-racking reports in media such as polling stations in Sembabule district that had more votes than registered voters.