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Besigye pulls a surprise in NRM strongholds, military barracks

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A voter casts her ballot paper at one of the polling stations in Namulanda, Wakiso District. Ugandans across the country have turned out Thursday to vote in presidential elections, with the incumbent Yoweri Museveni seeking to extend his 30-year rule. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DICTA ASIIMWE

Posted  Sunday, February 21   2016 at  13:37

In Summary

  • Dr Besigye’s three-month campaigns yielded fruit in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) stronghold including a military barracks where he garnered more votes than President Yoweri Museveni.
  • His performance in western Uganda, which in previous elections voted for President Museveni almost to a man, surprised many as he was expected to win at least one more district in addition to Kasese.

Dr Kizza Besigye, the leading Ugandan opposition candidate in the just concluded General Election, pulled a surprise in some areas that had religiously voted for President Yoweri Museveni in the past elections.

Dr Besigye’s three-month campaigns yielded fruit in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) stronghold including a military barracks where he garnered more votes than President Yoweri Museveni.

His performance in western Uganda, which in previous elections voted for President Museveni almost to a man, surprised many as he was expected to win at least one more district in addition to Kasese.

Provisional results showed that Dr Besigye had garnered 60 per cent of the votes in Kasese district.  

In an election where he started as an underdog with some party members pushing him to stay out of the race to pave the way for a fresh presidential candidate, Dr Besigye attracted huge crowds at his campaign rallies.

On polling day, long queues of voters waiting for hours to cast their ballots were a common sight across the country.

In 2011, 5.8 million out of 13.9 million registered voters didn’t vote.

Dr Besigye had been abandoned by some senior party members, among them shadow attorney-general Abdu Katuntu and Kitgum woman Member of Parliament Beatrice Anywar, over his three previous losses to Yoweri Museveni. 

Results that were collected by a number of media houses across Uganda at the close of polling on February 18, showed.

Dr Besigye won in a number of polling stations in different parts of the country including Luweero district, which has generally been an NRM stronghold.

In the Makindye military barracks whose soldiers are regularly called upon to quell demonstrations in Kampala, President Museveni got 198 votes while Dr Besigye got 437. In the 2011 presidential race, Dr Besigye said the military would support him, but when the votes finally came in, President Museveni still polled more votes than him. This seems to have changed this year. 

Dr Besigye also changed the attitude of Ugandans towards politicians and received contributions from party members to his campaign kitty. Party officials said the FDC candidate collected Ush96 million ($27,603), 11 cows, 78 goats and numerous chicken from party supporters to finance his campaigns.

Beti Kamya, who also contested against Dr Besigye in 2011, said in the just concluded elections that the FDC candidate had been treated like a king who receives gifts from his subjects, and not as a politician, who otherwise will be generally treated as corrupt and not worth voters’ respect.

Long distances

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