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News release

Most Ugandans said losing side should accept election results and move on, but many considered protests justified

17 Mar 2021 Uganda

For Ugandans who disagreed with the official results of the 2021 election, the response that most of their compatriots considered justified was to accept the results and move on, Afrobarometer survey findings show.

But close to half of Ugandans said protesting would be a justifiable response as well.

The survey, conducted in the weeks leading up to January’s election, shows that large majorities of Ugandans expected that the losing side would not accept official results and that there would be violence following the announcement of results.

Citizens’ views on justified reactions in the event of disputed election results align with previously reported findings that fewer than half of citizens expected the 2021 general election to be free and fair and that only one-third expected the vote count to be accurate at the national tally center.

Like several previous elections in Uganda, the 2021 election was marked by violence, suppression of dissent, and charges of fraud. Most of the electoral law reforms that the Supreme Court ordered after the disputed 2016 general election appear to have been sidelined, as have civil-society efforts to organize a national dialogue to address the country’s political differences.