Political and religious forces in Uganda are calling for reconciliation after what some analysts describe as the country’s most violent elections since President Yoweri Museveni took over power in 1986.
The calls followed the confirmation on Thursday of Museveni’s victory in the 14 January election.
Uganda’s Electoral Commission in its final results of the poll maintained Museveni won 58.38 percent of the vote.
Museveni’s closest rival Robert Kyagulanyi, a popular musician-turned politician, who is known as Bobi Wine, scored 35.08 percent.
In the preliminary results, Museveni scored 58.64 percent, while Kyagulanyi had 34.83 percent.
There is no indication yet whether the opposition is willing to talk. Opposition leaders who competed in the elections say they are consulting each other to map out a way forward.
“We encourage all of you to use all non-violent and legal means and ideas at your disposal to engage in this fight for complete freedom,” Kyagulanyi said on Friday.
Museveni has said that he does not need anyone to mediate talks between the ruling National Resistance Movement party and the opposition.
He said he has been long enough in power and has gained experience to engage the opposition in reconciliation talk. Museveni said he is willing to talk to the opposition if they do not cause post-election violence.
“So really for us we do not have much problem (with reconciliation). We have the mouth and we use it to talk. The only thing we shall not tolerate is violence. This is the minimum,” Museveni was quoted by local newspaper Daily Monitor on Wednesday.
While the political tension seems to be calming down compared with the pre-election time, security forces say they are still on alert against any chaos.
The military and police still patrol the streets in the capital city of Kampala and surrounding suburbs, although at a reduced frequency compared with the election time.
Western envoys, who themselves have had a lashing from the Ugandan government for interfering in the country’s internal affairs, have urged the opposition to avoid any post-election violence and seek court redress instead.
British High Commissioner to Uganda Kate Airey, after meeting Kyagulanyi on Wednesday, urged all parties to desist from violence, engage in peaceful dialogue and follow the due process to address the problems in the elections.