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Uganda: Church Council finds elections fair

Posted on: June 19, 1996 4:19 PM
Related Categories: Uganda

The results of Uganda's presidential election, held on 9 May, represented a fair and authentic view of the voters, despite some shortcomings and anomalies, according to the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), which monitored the elections.

Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni won a landslide victory in the election, gaining 74.2 per cent of the votes. His main opponent, Paul Ssemogerere, gained 23.7 per cent of the votes, while the little-known Mohammed Mayanja Kibirige received only 2.1 per cent of the votes.

Both Ssemogerere and Mayanja have rejected the results of the election, claiming that the results were rigged in favour of President Museveni.

The UJCC, which comprises the country's Anglican, Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, urged the losers to concede defeat gracefully.

"If they [the losers] have strong reasons to believe that the elections were rigged in favour of Museveni, we urge them to invoke the provisions of the constitution and the election law which allows them to lodge a petition in a court of law," the UJCC said in a report, signed by Archbishop Emmanuel Wamala, the UJCC chairman and head of the Uganda's Roman Catholic Church, and by the UJCC's coordinator, Canon James Ndyabahika.

The UJCC said that the counting of votes was transparent at all polling stations, and that voting took place peacefully and in an orderly manner. However, there had been some attempts to manipulate the electoral process through illegal practices, according to the UJCC report, which noted that most culprits had been arrested and prosecuted.

"The time for electioneering is over. It is now time for reconciliation and building of bridges," the UJCC said, urging President Museveni to show magnanimity to his opponents and to those who did not vote for him.

The ecumenical organisation called for a strong parliament to work with and to act as a counter-balance to the executive.