People turned out in droves on Thursday to make their mark in a historic election in which Museveni’s reign would be heavily tested by Bobi Wine.
Ugandans voted under high security and an internet blackout in an election pitting veteran leader Yoweri Museveni against former popstar Bobi Wine after one of the bloodiest campaigns in years.
Voting in Kampala took place Thursday under a heavy military and police presence, with no violent incidents occurring during the communications cutoff.
The vote count is underway after the polls close as people flocked to make their mark in a historic and hotly contested election in which Museveni’s reign is said to be heavily put in the spotlight. test.
Long lines of voters slipped out of the polling stations in the capital, a bastion of an opposition galvanized by Bobi Wine despite a campaign marked by murderous repressions.
There are 17.7 million registered voters and the results are expected within 48 hours. The turnout seemed robust, according to pictures of polling stations broadcast by private television channels.
After the polls closed at 4 p.m. local time, hundreds of Bobi Wine supporters in Kampala returned to their polling stations to respond to his call to “protect the vote” by watching the tally.
At the post where Bobi Wine voted, the security forces chased his supporters.
He took to Twitter shortly after the vote ended to announce that his and his wife’s phones were on hold.
“I know it is to prevent me from communicating with our agents and coordinators,” he added, asking his supporters to be vigilant.
Like my wife’s, my phone has been blocked and I am unable to receive or make regular calls. I know this is to prevent me from communicating with our agents and coordinators. I encourage you, comrades, to be vigilant as I try to find ways to contact you.#WeAreRemovingADictator
– WINE BOBI (@HEBobiwine) January 14, 2021
Catherine Soi of Al Jazeera, reporting from Kampala and quoting the chairman of the electoral commission, said the electoral process went smoothly.
“He said there were a few hiccups here and there that delayed the delivery of voting materials to some polling stations, the identification kits in some stations failed, but it was all sorted out,” a- she added.
“Voting in a few polling stations did not take place and will do so tomorrow.”
‘Stay to watch’
At three polling stations visited by the Reuters news agency during the count, cheers rose from the crowds of young people every time an election official cast a ballot for Bobi Wine.
There was silence as the president’s name was read.
“I know Museveni is still trying to stay in power. This time we are staying to watch every step of the way, ”said Sam Ndaula, 26, a roadside salesman.
Police arrested around 30 people at Kampala’s Africana Hotel on Thursday over allegations of an illegal parallel counting center, a police official at the scene told Reuters, who declined to be appointed.
Museveni is still held in high regard by older Ugandans who remember the relative stability and security he returned to the country.
“These young people want change, but they don’t know what Museveni has done for us,” said Faith Florence Nakalembe, 58.
But her children, who also queue in Kamwokya to vote, desperately want change.
“For 23 years, I have never seen a different president. I want someone else, ”said his son, 23-year-old student Saad Mukoone, who voted for Bobi Wine.
Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, says his administration guarantees stability and progress, including hydropower dams and much-needed roads.