President Yoweri Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni

dpa/GNA – Incumbent Yoweri Museveni took a strong lead in Uganda’s hotly contested presidential election, the electoral commission said on Saturday.

Long-time autocrat Museveni, who has been in power for 35 years, has garnered 58.8 per cent of the vote, with 51.6 per cent of votes counted, the commission said.

Museveni’s closest contender, Bobi Wine, a pop star-turned-politician whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, received 34.6 per cent of votes so far.

The overall result of Thursday’s election is expected to be announced later on Saturday.

A candidate needs at least 50 per cent of votes to win in the first round. If any candidate fails to do so, a run-off election will be scheduled.

Wine, 38, said army troops had raided his Kampala residence on Friday evening.

“The military has jumped over the fence and has now taken control of our home,” he tweeted. “None of these military intruders is talking to us. We are in serious trouble. We are under siege.”

Wine, who has the support of Uganda’s youth, is seen as the first challenger to Museveni’s rule who has a realistic chance of winning.

Museveni, 76, has changed Uganda’s constitution to enable himself to run for yet another five-year term.

The January 14 election has been overshadowed by violence since campaigning began, with almost daily violence and tight police and military presence on election day.

The internet was shut down across the country shortly before the start of voting.

Kampala remained quiet on Saturday, with citizens instructed to remain at home, and security forces patrolling the streets.

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