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Uganda rival cites harassment as votes counted

by The Associated Press | January 16, 2021 at 4:01 a.m.
Uganda presidential candidate Bobi Wine told reporters Friday at his home in Magere that whatever was being declared about the vote count is “a total sham.” (AP/Nicholas Bamulanzeki)

KAMPALA, Uganda -- Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine said Friday that the military had entered his home and "we are in serious trouble," while the country waited for election results amid a government-ordered internet blackout and official results showed President Yoweri Museveni in the lead.

Wine tweeted just hours after he alleged that Thursday's election was rigged and said "every legal option is on the table" to challenge the official results, including peaceful protests. He referred to himself as the "president-elect."

Wine was arrested several times during campaigning but never charged, while dozens of party members were detained. This month he petitioned the International Criminal Court over alleged abuses by security forces. Wine has said he feared for his life.

"Bobi and colleagues are safe, for now, following military breaching their fence and entering their property," tweeted an associate of Wine, Jeffrey Smith of the nonprofit Vanguard Africa.

Reached by phone, military spokeswoman Brig. Gen. Flavia Byekwaso said "it's not true. We only have a presence of soldiers in the general area of Magere," the village where Wine lives. She said Wine should "appreciate" that security forces are there to protect him: "He is not an ordinary person any more."

[Video not showing up above? Click here to watch » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A-utOylzX4]

A Kampala police spokesman, Luke Owoyesigire, told broadcaster NTV Uganda that three unidentified people had tried to enter and one was arrested while two "took off." He said Wine was not under arrest.

"We are not under legal detention, but the situation around us shows we are under house arrest," Wine's wife, Barbie, told reporters. "I think it is shameless of our security agencies to do this to us even when they know that the world is actually watching."

Uganda's electoral commission said the president leads Wine and other candidates based on results from almost two-thirds of polling stations, receiving 62% of the vote while Wine had 30%. It said final results will be declared today.

Earlier in the day, Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president's age, alleged to reporters that "whatever is being declared is a total sham." At the time, there was a heavy police presence near his home.

The electoral commission said Wine should prove his allegations of rigging. He said he would provide video evidence of pre-ticked ballots and other irregularities once internet access in Uganda is restored.

"We secured a comfortable victory," Wine said. "I am very confident that we defeated the dictator by far." He was considering "peaceful and nonviolent protests" over the declared results and said "every legal option is on the table." Candidates can challenge election results in the Supreme Court.

The generational clash between Wine, 38, and the 76-year-old president is widely watched in many African countries where booming youthful populations express frustration with longtime leaders.

The government cut internet access in the East African country on the eve of the largely peaceful election day, disrupting everything from mobile money payments to medical care.

Asked how voting results are being transmitted, the electoral commission chief said "we recognized the usual internet could ... have issues, so we did not want to take chances. So we designed our own system of transmitting these results." How it works, he said is "something technical I can't explain sufficiently for you to appreciate."

Elections results were not announced by district, further challenging attempts to monitor the vote. The electoral commission said it "may not be able" to provide details of where the published results are from.

Uganda's leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine walks back to his residence after giving a press conference outside Kampala, Uganda, Friday,Jan. 15, 2021, one day after Ugandans went to the polls. Uganda’s electoral commission says President Yoweri Museveni leads in Thursday’s election with results in from 29% of polling stations. He has 63% of ballots while top opposition candidate Bobi Wine has 28%. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Uganda's leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine walks back to his residence after giving a press conference outside Kampala, Uganda, Friday,Jan. 15, 2021, one day after Ugandans went to the polls. Uganda’s electoral commission says President Yoweri Museveni leads in Thursday’s election with results in from 29% of polling stations. He has 63% of ballots while top opposition candidate Bobi Wine has 28%. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
The National Unity platform presidential candidate Bobi Wine addresses the media at his home in Magere, Uganda, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Uganda's electoral commission says President Yoweri Museveni leads in Thursday's election with results in from 29% of polling stations. He has 63% of ballots while top opposition candidate Bobi Wine has 28%. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president's age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged. (AP Photo/Nicholas Bamulanzeki)
The National Unity platform presidential candidate Bobi Wine addresses the media at his home in Magere, Uganda, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Uganda's electoral commission says President Yoweri Museveni leads in Thursday's election with results in from 29% of polling stations. He has 63% of ballots while top opposition candidate Bobi Wine has 28%. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president's age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged. (AP Photo/Nicholas Bamulanzeki)
Uganda's leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine giving a press conference outside Kampala, Uganda, Friday Jan. 15, 2021, one day after Ugandans went to the polls. Uganda’s electoral commission says President Yoweri Museveni leads in Thursday’s election with results in from 29% of polling stations. He has 63% of ballots while top opposition candidate Bobi Wine has 28%. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Uganda's leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine giving a press conference outside Kampala, Uganda, Friday Jan. 15, 2021, one day after Ugandans went to the polls. Uganda’s electoral commission says President Yoweri Museveni leads in Thursday’s election with results in from 29% of polling stations. He has 63% of ballots while top opposition candidate Bobi Wine has 28%. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Supporters of leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine cheer as election officials count the ballots after polls closed in Kampala, Uganda, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Ugandans voted in a presidential election tainted by widespread violence that some fear could escalate as security forces try to stop supporters of Wine from monitoring polling stations. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Supporters of leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine cheer as election officials count the ballots after polls closed in Kampala, Uganda, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Ugandans voted in a presidential election tainted by widespread violence that some fear could escalate as security forces try to stop supporters of Wine from monitoring polling stations. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
The National Unity platform presidential candidate Bobi Wine addresses the media at his home in Magere, Uganda, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Uganda’s electoral commission says President Yoweri Museveni leads in Thursday’s election with results in from 29% of polling stations. He has 63% of ballots while top opposition candidate Bobi Wine has 28%. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged. (AP Photo/Nicholas Bamulanzeki)
The National Unity platform presidential candidate Bobi Wine addresses the media at his home in Magere, Uganda, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Uganda’s electoral commission says President Yoweri Museveni leads in Thursday’s election with results in from 29% of polling stations. He has 63% of ballots while top opposition candidate Bobi Wine has 28%. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged. (AP Photo/Nicholas Bamulanzeki)
Election officials count the ballots after polls closed in Kampala, Uganda, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Ugandans voted in a presidential election tainted by widespread violence that some fear could escalate as security forces try to stop supporters of leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine from monitoring polling stations. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Election officials count the ballots after polls closed in Kampala, Uganda, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Ugandans voted in a presidential election tainted by widespread violence that some fear could escalate as security forces try to stop supporters of leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine from monitoring polling stations. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Uganda's leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine giving a press conference outside Kampala, Uganda, Friday Jan. 15, 2021, one day after Ugandans went to the polls. Uganda’s electoral commission says President Yoweri Museveni leads in Thursday’s election with results in from 29% of polling stations. He has 63% of ballots while top opposition candidate Bobi Wine has 28%. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Uganda's leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine giving a press conference outside Kampala, Uganda, Friday Jan. 15, 2021, one day after Ugandans went to the polls. Uganda’s electoral commission says President Yoweri Museveni leads in Thursday’s election with results in from 29% of polling stations. He has 63% of ballots while top opposition candidate Bobi Wine has 28%. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Supporters of leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine cheer as election officials count the ballots after polls closed in Kampala, Uganda, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Ugandans voted in a presidential election tainted by widespread violence that some fear could escalate as security forces try to stop supporters of Wine from monitoring polling stations.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Supporters of leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine cheer as election officials count the ballots after polls closed in Kampala, Uganda, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Ugandans voted in a presidential election tainted by widespread violence that some fear could escalate as security forces try to stop supporters of Wine from monitoring polling stations.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
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