Uganda: Presidential candidate calls for protests

AP News
Posted: Feb 24, 2011 9:31 AM
Uganda: Presidential candidate calls for protests

The presidential candidate in Uganda who came in second to President Yoweri Museveni in this month's vote called Thursday for peaceful protests in response to what he called a rigged election.

Kizza Besigye, who took 26 percent of last Friday's vote to Museveni's 68 percent, addressed several hundred supporters in Kampala and called for new elections.

"We make a call to action," he said. "The time is now for people of Uganda to rise and peacefully protest the outcome of the 2011 elections, and to demand that no further elections are held by the current electoral commission."

Besigye called the current electoral commission "incompetent" and said all elections under Museveni's government have been rigged.

Besigye, who won 37 percent of the vote in the 2006 presidential election, had previously threatened Egypt-style unrest if the results were out of line with his backers' expectations.

Army spokesman Felix Kulayigye downplayed Besigye's call for protest.

"We are ready for them," he said. "Let them come to the streets and see what we will do to them."

Museveni has said he will jail anyone who attempts Egypt-style protests.

The European Union's election observer team said that there had been serious flaws with the voting process and the campaign. They said state resources were used to skew the elections in Museveni's favor. The chief of Uganda's election rejected claims that the results were rigged or the vote was unfair.

Museveni has been in power in Uganda for 25 years, despite pledges earlier in his career to not follow in the footsteps of long-serving African dictators.