Uganda decides, M7 or Besigye


Voting is underway in Uganda. About fifteen million Ugandans are voting to elect a new government. Millions have queued up to vote for a president and parliament amidst heavy security around the country.

According to APA, there was a five-hour delay in the opening of polling in the capital Kampala and outlying areas.

_88327720_ugandathumbgettyIn the run up to the elections, there has been many unpleasant situations including the arrest of the biggest opposition party leader-Kizza Besigye who is highly tipped to beat the current President Yoweri Museveni who has ruled the country for 30 years.

On a voting day, social media has been blocked in Uganda in a bid to stop people “telling lies”, President Museveni has said.

Mr Museveni, 71, is seeking to extend his 30-year rule, in a race widely seen as the tightest in the East African state’s history.

Voting has been cancelled at at least two polling stations in the capital Kampala after clashes with police.

Seven opposition candidates are running against Mr Museveni.

Uganda decides: Live updates

Uganda’s election explained

Interviewed on TV about social media, Mr Museveni said: “Some people misuse those pathways. You know how they misuse them – telling lies.

“If you want a right then use it properly.”

His main challenger is his former physician, Kizza Besigye who has said he does not think the election will be free and fair.

Former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi is also seen as a leading contender for the presidency.

Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and mobile money services have been blocked.

Despite this, #UgandaDecides is still trending on Twitter.

Many people have found a way around the controversial restrictions, including Mr Mbabazi who tweeted advice on how to do it:

Amama Mbabazi tweetImage copyrightTwitter

A VPN – a Virtual Private Network – gets round government censorship by redirecting your internet activity to a computer in a different country.

The head of Uganda’s media regulator, Godfrey Mutabazi, said the block was introduced after a request from the electoral commission, local media reports.

He added that it was to make sure the services would not be used to bribe voters.

Uganda’s leading mobile operator MTN, which has 10 million users, confirmed that it had received an order to shut down social media services.

The election has been marred by delays of up to five hours at some polling stations.

The electoral commission said difficulties in transporting electoral materials caused the delays and agreed to extend voting for three hours until 16:00 GMT in some polling stations.

Tear gas fired

The BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga in the capital, Kampala, reports that crowds were angry after waiting several hours to vote and police used teargas to disperse them.

She visited two voting stations where voting had been cancelled because people had said they received fake ballots.

A candidate needs to secure more than 50% of the vote to win outright and avoid a run-off with the second-ranked contender.

Ugandans are also voting in parliamentary and local elections. with additional files from BBC

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