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Museveni set to retain presidency

BUSINESS
By | February 19th 2011

By Kipkirui K'Telwa

With over 80 percent of the votes counted, Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is ahead of his closest rival Kizza Besigye.

Museveni has over 71 percent of the votes counted while Bisigye comes a distant second with just over 20 percent.

With 1,608,989 votes ahead of Bisigye’s 520,650, Museveni is sure of extending his 25-year-rule by another five years.

Though voting and vote counting processes had been mostly smooth in most places, there have been ugly incidences. The first occurred when a journalist was shot as troops opened fire at an opposition politician.

According to BBC website, the journalist who was shot, Julius Odeke, is unconscious in a local hospital.

He had apparently refused orders to get out of a vehicle carrying opposition MP Nandala Mafabi in the eastern district of Budadiri, where a heavy military presence has been reported.

"They shot the journalist in the ribs, we have left him in casualty," Mr Mafabi told NTV Uganda.

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"They have beaten up our people badly and spoilt our cars, four of them… [but] we are determined to fight on."

In the second incident, Uganda's Minister in charge of presidency ploughed into a crowd in Mbale critically injuring two people including a journalist.

Witnesses said the crowd was attempting to barricade and search the car after it was reported that it was ferrying marked ballot papers to police station for onward transmission.

Besigye, who is standing against Museveni for the third time, has warned of protests if he is "cheated" of victory.

But Mr Museveni said protests could not happen in Uganda and threatened to jail anyone threatening the country’s peace.

Opposition frontrunner Besigye, who plans to release a poll tally before the official results, reported "serious problems" during voting on Friday which he said could lead to mass street protests if he tells his supporters the vote was not fair.

Museveni, in power since 1986, says he will arrest Besigye if he tries to start protests while demonstrators will be "bundled" into the courts and jail.

"Revolt? Let him try, let him try, because the hour is here now, and then he will know what it means to revolt," Museveni told reporters late on Friday at his ranch in Rwakitura.

Besigye, Museveni's field doctor during the guerrilla war that thrust the 67-year old into power, has said east Africa's third largest economy is ripe for an Egyptian-style uprising as it prepares to pump oil next year.

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