, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has congratulated Yoweri Museveni on his re-election as President of the Republic of Uganda.
He said Kenya respects the choice of Museveni as President of Uganda.
“The people of Uganda have spoken, and they have spoken very clearly,” President Kenyatta said.
He added that Kenya values its close friendship with Uganda which is founded on a common history, a common culture, and common interests.
“In years past, we have worked closely together for the prosperity and freedom of our nations. We look forward to continuing the work that both our nations have already done, together and in concert with the East African Community, the African Union, and IGAD.”
He wished Museveni success as he serves his nation for another term.
“He and Uganda can count on my support, and my friendship, as well as that of their brothers and sisters in Kenya,” he concluded.
Museveni won a fifth term on Saturday, extending his three-decade rule in a vote rejected as fraudulent by an opposition leader under house arrest and criticised by the international community.
The veteran 71-year-old won 60 percent of the vote in the sometimes chaotic elections, far ahead of the 35 percent garnered by detained opposition chief Kizza Besigye, whose house was surrounded by dozens of armed police in riot gear.
Large numbers of police and troops have been deployed on the streets of the capital Kampala, which appeared calm immediately after the widely expected victory for Museveni was declared.
Besigye slammed the results as a fraud, saying in a message to the international community: “Should you ratify the results of these sham elections, at least have the courage to admit that you do not care about democracy or human rights in Africa.”
The US criticised “irregularities” in the vote, including accusations of vote buying and rigging, which a State Department spokesman said was “deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process”.
International observers also raised the red flag, warning that Uganda’s electoral commission lacked transparency and accusing the police of heavy-handed treatment of the opposition.
Local election officials appealed for calm, with Election Commission chief Badru Kiggundu calling on Ugandans to “be prepared to exhibit more tolerance”.
“The outcome of an election can either tear or build a country,” he said shortly before declaring Museveni the winner. “We love this country and you Ugandans love your country.”
Some 9.7 million Ugandans – a turnout of around 63 percent – voted for president and members of parliament, with 290 assembly seats contested by candidates from 29 political parties.
Although Museveni was re-elected, at least 19 of his ministers lost their parliamentary seats. Among them defence minister Crispus Kiyonga – who is spearheading regional efforts to end the political crisis in Burundi – and attorney general Fred Ruhindi.