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The BBC's Cathy Jenkins in Kampala
"The election has forced President Museveni to answer some sensitive questions"
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The BBC's Julian Marshall in Uganda
"The campaigning is over but are the authorities ready?"
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Sunday, 11 March, 2001, 17:47 GMT
Museveni confident ahead of poll
President Museveni:
President Museveni: Dismissing the election challenge
On the eve of presidential elections in Uganda, the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni has claimed to have massive support in the country.

"Losing is completely hypothetical. It will not happen," the president told a news conference in the capital, Kampala.

Afterwards, Mr Museveni wrapped up his campaign at a rally in Kampala that drew some 30,000 supporters, mostly decked out in yellow, who chanted "no change."

It is only the second time in 15 years that Mr Museveni has faced an electoral contest

The authorities say preparations are complete for presidential elections on Monday, which has been declared a public holiday to enable all Ugandans to take part.

Although opinion polls have shown him consistently in the lead a stiff challenge is being put up by a former friend, a retired colonel and medical doctor, Kizza Besigye.

Corruption 'still rife'

On the eve of voting President Museveni dismissed the challenge from Dr Besigye, his principal opponent.

Mr Museveni described him as part of an old anti-progressive group who only cared about themselves and not about Uganda, and were prepared to use tribalism and violence for their own ends.

Dr Besigye on the campaign trail
Besigye: Museveni has lost his way
The president admitted that corruption, nepotism and embezzlement were still rife within his administration.

But he said this was despite his efforts and not because of him, and that time was needed for a new generation of civil servants to emerge.

Allegations of corruption have been part of the Besigye campaign, which has posed the first real challenge to Mr Museveni's leadership.

Thousands of people attended Dr Besigye's last rally in Kampala a few days ago, hearing him explain why Mr Museveni had lost his way.

Both sides have reported intimidation and violence by their opponents during the election campaign.

To win outright in Monday's polling a candidate will need more than 50% of the votes.

The latest opinion polls suggest that Mr Museveni may pass this hurdle. If he does not, a run-off will be held within 30 days.

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See also:

23 Feb 01 | Africa
Ugandan opposition 'intimidated'
06 Mar 01 | Africa
Suspicion at Ugandan army role
09 Mar 01 | Africa
Museveni's election test
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