Omoyele Sowore, a Nigerian publisher and activist, has urged Ugandans to ensure that President Yoweri Museveni doesn’t enjoy ‘the fruit of a stolen mandate’.
On Saturday, the Uganda Election Commission declared Museveni the winner of Thursday presidential election in the country.
Chairman of the commission, Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, said Museveni won a sixth term in office with 58.6 per cent of the votes while main opposition candidate, Bobi Wine, got 34.83 per cent.
The poll followed one of the most violent campaigns in years, with harassment and arrests of the opposition, attacks on the media and the deaths of at least 54 people.
Thursday’s election took place in an apparent calm but under soldiers’ oppressive presence and riot police and an Internet blackout.
Museveni has ruled Uganda without pause since seizing control in 1986 when he helped end years of tyranny under Idi Amin and Milton Obote. He is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.
Once hailed for his commitment to good governance, the former rebel leader has crushed opposition and tweaked the constitution to allow himself to run again and again.
Speaking with Worship Media on Saturday, Sowore said the Uganda poll should be a lesson to Africans that electoral politics is not enough to deal with dictators.
He added that there should be a different level of engagement that combines election with physical actions.
The activist urged Ugandans to go into the revolutionary mode as the ballot has failed them.
He said, “There is nothing strange about what happened in Uganda. I was in touch with Bobi Wine until the day of the election. We knew that when they suspended the Internet, that was the last phase of the rigging process. Without social media, Bobi Wine’s digital followers would have no chance to publish results from polling units across the country.
“This should teach us a lesson that electoral politics is not enough to deal with dictators; there has to be a different level of engagement that combines election with physical actions. I must say that Bobi Wine has taken the first step and his movement in Uganda did a fantastic job marching toe to toe with a dictator, Museveni, but this is not just enough.
“Ugandans should completely go into revolutionary mode at this point. The ballot has failed them. They must hit the street and ensure this guy (Museveni) doesn’t enjoy the fruit of a stolen mandate. If someone successfully robs a bank, the society should not look back and say because he wasn’t caught at the bank, they should let him spend his loot.
“We must go after him in every way we know, recover the loot and make him pay for his actions. It’s the same way Ugandans should act. I think the level of social consciousness In Uganda is high enough to take this guy out of their political life.
“We would sound apologetic if we say they should wait for another four years. I can’t imagine myself living under the Buhari junta for another two and a half years. I am overwhelmed already. Many Nigerians are already overwhelmed. So, can you imagine Ugandans going another five years under Museveni?
“Bobi Wine would have gone on exile, and nobody will remember him in the next five years. If they can stand up to this dictator now and take back from the dictator their stolen mandate and organize fresh elections, probably change the constitution, that would be the real democracy.”