Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Subscribe now to follow markets, faster and distraction-free. More details

Ugandans choose between reggae singer and longtime leader in tense election

Stock MarketsJan 14, 2021 05:36
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Elections billboards for Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, and opposition leader and presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, are seen on a street in Kampala

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandans began voting on Thursday in a presidential election pitting long-time leader Yoweri Museveni against an opposition galvanized by a popular singer despite a campaign marked by brutal crackdowns.

Voting began between 60 to 90 minutes late at six polling stations visited by Reuters after ballot papers did not arrive on time. Lines of voters were growing at many stations as midday approached and soldiers and police in riot gear patrolled the capital.

The East African country of nearly 46 million people was under an internet blackout after the communications regulator ordered telecoms operators to suspend services from Wednesday, according to the largest operator in Uganda, South African telecoms company MTN Group.

Reggae artist Bobi Wine, 38, is channelling the anger of many young Ugandans who say former guerrilla leader Museveni, now 76, is an out-of-touch dictator failing to tackle unemployment and surging public debt.

Museveni calls Wine an upstart backed by foreign governments and homosexuals and says his administration guarantees stability and progress including much-needed hydropower dams and roads.

As Wine's car arrived at his polling station, flanked by police in black uniforms, bulletproof vests and helmets, his supporters danced and cheered.

"We have made every effort to observe and watch this election, and we will know the answer," Wine said while voting. Some of those waiting to cast their ballots said they were scared of the security forces but determined to vote for Wine.

There has been more campaign violence than in previous turbulent elections, with scores killed when security forces cracked down on gatherings of opposition supporters. Opposition candidates, supporters and campaign staff have been repeatedly arrested.

The government says it is stopping illegal gatherings during the COVID-19 crisis. The opposition says the bans on rallies in some parts of Uganda are a smokescreen for repression.

"If you try to disturb peace, you will have yourself to blame. The security forces, following the law, are ready to deal with any troublemaker," Museveni, dressed in a military camouflage jacket, warned this week in a television broadcast.

A 31-year-old motorcycle taxi driver waiting to vote, Muhamad Barugahare, said Museveni was the only one who could guarantee peace. "We don't want to gamble with this young man," he said, referring to Wine.

Joseph Kinobe, 40, a mason waiting to cast his ballot for Wine, said he was desperate for change.

"I'm tired of Museveni because he has no new ideas."

FLASHPOINTS?

Though Wine has the momentum of energized and aggrieved supporters behind him, Museveni remains the frontrunner to win with the well-equipped army and police behind him, analysts say.

Military police said they had deployed officers to rooftops of buildings across Kampala, and the normally bustling streets were quiet.

"Every bit of the security apparatus will be on the streets," a senior European Union diplomat said. "Theoretically that brings calm, but I think we know that just brings flashpoints."

There are 17.7 million registered voters. Polls close at 5 p.m. It was not clear if polling hours would be extended due to the early delays.

The first results are expected by Saturday evening.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has urged supporters to watch the count at polling stations and take photographs of result sheets and upload them to an application called U Vote. The internet blackout makes that impossible.

On Tuesday, Uganda banned all social media platforms and messaging apps. Museveni apologised but said Uganda had no choice after Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) took down some accounts that backed his party.

Ugandans choose between reggae singer and longtime leader in tense election
 

Related Articles

Google workers to form global union alliance
Google workers to form global union alliance By Reuters - Jan 25, 2021

(Reuters) - Google employees from across the globe are forming a union alliance, weeks after workers at the search engine giant and other units of parent company Alphabet...

BRIEF-Toronto Stock Exchange unofficially closes up
BRIEF-Toronto Stock Exchange unofficially closes up By Reuters - Jan 25, 2021

TORONTO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Toronto Stock Exchange S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE : * Falls 10.59 points, or 0.06 percent, to 17,835.32 at open.TORONTO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Toronto...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email