Uganda: Talking Points on Election Day

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As election day comes around in Uganda, we take a look at the talking points as Yoweri Museveni seeks to prolong his 30-year rule in the country.

It’s been a day of arrests, social media blackouts, delays for voters and early cries of fraudulence. Throw in a few clashes with police, a couple of cancelled polling stations and crowds of frustrated voters; everything you need to get that election day feeling.

 

Social media blackout on Ugandan election day

Various social media platforms have been blocked in Uganda on election day with acting President Museveni accusing users of telling lies. Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp have all been blocked, as well as numerous mobile money services.

Despite the blockage, #UgandaDecides was still trending on Twitter today.

 

Presidential challenger arrested

Uganda’s leading presidential challenger was also arrested as polls were closing on Thursday. It’s not yet known why Kizza Besigye was detained – or where he is being held – but the politician has been repeatedly detained by police in the past, only to be released without charge.

 

Voters left waiting for six hours

Crowds of voters across Uganda were left waiting for hours to cast their votes after lengthy delays in setting up polling stations. Some voters had to wait up to six hours and two polling station were confirmed to have been cancelled.

“Delays of three, four, five and even six hours, especially in Kampala, are absolutely inexcusable and will not inspire trust and confidence in the system and the process,” said Commonwealth election observer, Olusegun Obasanjo.

 

Clashes with police

Some crowds were left so frustrated with delays and angered by claims of fraudulence that clashes with police in parts of the capital. Clashes reportedly broke out after accusations that fake ballot boxes were being used and police resorted to firing tear gas to disperse the crowds.

 

And on top of all that, early cries of foul play have already been sounded. Detained candidate Kizza Besigye earlier said the election had “no chance of being free or fair“. Official results are due to be announced on Saturday after the counting process.

 

Featured image:

By Chatham HouseYoweri Museveni, President, UgandaUploaded by russavia, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26223687

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.