It’s never been so easy to drive across town in Kampala. The combination of some people laying low as a precaution against elections violence, and thousands of people heading back to their villages for the weekend to vote has left Kampala feeling almost deserted.
Things are almost eerily quiet, and only the increased presence of army and police on the streets gives the feeling that there is the potential for violence.
As of an hour ago, Museveni had 2.4 million votes to Besigye’s 780,000.
Some reports are trickling in of voting irregularities such as ballot boxes arriving at their station already full of ballots, and many disappointed people arriving at their polling stations with voter cards in hand whose names are not on the list. A shipment of ballots from Mbale, one of the few areas reporting violent elections-related clashes, apparently took over 12 hours to reach Kampala instead of the normal five. People will be asking what happened during those missing 7 hours. Mostly, though, things seem to be proceeding in an orderly manner.
I’m sure that by tomorrow or Monday we will be seeing compilations of the irregularities, and the opposition will highlight them to claim victory when the final tallys are reported (the Electoral Commission is required by law to announce results within 48 hours of elections) and Museveni is announced the winner. There is the potential for isolated eruptions at that point.
For now, though, it is looking likely that this election season will pass relatively quietly, regardless of the credibility of the results. And if it takes an election to reduce the daily traffic jams in Kampala, let’s not wait another five years to have another one!
Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala