DELAYED: EC Explains Why Presidential Winner Results Aren’t Published Yet

Uganda 2021 Elections

JusticeSimon Byabakama

By Our Reporter

KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| After the 2016 presidential elections, the results of the winner were published two days after polling.

This is not the case with the 2021 elections that six days after voting no results have been published by the electoral commission.

Museveni was announced the winner last Saturday after allegedly 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 3.48 million votes equivalent 34.83 per cent.

Even during the partial reading of results at Kyambogo University, Electoral Commission chairperson Simon Byabakama was asked by the media where he was getting the results he was reading from more so when the internet had been cut off in the entire country. Byabakama said the Commission had its own system that it was using to transmit the results from district tally centres. In one seemingly embarrassing moment, Byabakama was captured on camera asking one of his officials if the results given to him were correct.

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 after 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.”

“Our technical team is going through what we call the finalisation processes and right now we’re preparing to get the tally sheets out, final results gazetted and published in accordance with the Constitution. So that is where we’re, we have gotten everything and our teams are still working out what we call very finalization processes. The process is near the end because we have gotten everything here. We’re just going through and I will not break that one down; what we call finalization processes involved of final ascertaining and preparing signing of the documents,” said Bukenya.

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 48 hours 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.”

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 in favour of President Museveni. 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.

“We have taken interest in them [videos], that means that we want to investigate them. What are these materials? Are they ours? Which district are they from? Why didn’t the people report when they saw that? Why didn’t they go to the police? So there are issues that we want to be investigated and we have put it to the attention of the police to investigate that and also to call on the public if you come across any election materials as we saw in one of the videos, why don’t you report it so that we investigate it? Where is that material, is it from a particular district? We want to put the returning officer to task because the returning officer is the custodian of all election materials. Why are what appears to be like electoral materials out there? So I think this is a matter that the commission has taken up to investigate. We have seen about 7 videos that we have taken interest in,” said Bukenya.

There have also been nerve-racking reports in media such as polling stations in Sembabule district that had more votes than registered voters.

Some of the videos that have emerged on social media since the internet was switched back on Monday allegedly showing vote-rigging. -URN

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