, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 20 – The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East African Community (EAC) election observer missions have commended the Uganda Electoral Commission for conducting what they termed as “free and fair” elections, hours before the final results are announced.
IGAD Head of Observer Mission Yufnalis Okubo says Uganda’s 2016 general election showed some improvement as compared to the previous elections held in 2011.
“We would like to commend the electoral commission in the manner in which they have handled this heavy task. We indeed noticed certain practices that will serve as a good example for other member states such as the availability of the voters register to agents and the presidential debate which is now taking root in the region,” he told a news conference on Saturday.
Final results for the presidential election are expected later this afternoon, with incumbent president Yoweri Museveni widely expected to win as shown by the widening gap in results out so far ahead of his main challengers.
“The missions’ appeals to all political players and candidates to accept the outcome of elections and move forward on the path of democracy o which this great nation has embarked,” he added.
In the event that there is reason to challenge the results, he urged everyone to use the provided legal channels to resolve any disputes.
Ugandan police stormed opposition party headquarters and arrested top presidential challenger Kizza Besigye Friday, as early results showed veteran leader Museveni in a steady lead.
The police raid came as people were still queuing at dozens of polling stations in the wider Kampala area, with voting extended in 36 sites for a second day on Friday, after delays Commonwealth election observers called “inexcusable”.
Preliminary results released by the Electoral Commission from just over a third of polling centres nationwide gave the 71-year-old Museveni a clear 63 percent of the vote.
The former rebel fighter faced a challenge from seven candidates, but is expected to easily win re-election for a fifth term in office and extend his 30-year rule of the east African country.
Thursday’s presidential and parliamentary votes were disrupted in the capital Kampala by the late arrival of ballot boxes and papers, angry demonstrations by frustrated voters and police using tear gas.