Thursday, February 18, 2016

Uganda Elections: Polls Open Amid Delays and Social Media Shutdown

Voting has begun in Uganda's presidential and parliamentary elections on Thursday, marred by delays because of the late delivery of voting materials in many places, especially in the capital Kampala.

Voting was due to begin at 07:00 am (0400 GMT) but, despite queues forming outside polling booths, many had still not opened over an hour later.

There are already long lines at many polling stations in Kampala and many parts of the country, with many voters complaining about the delays. Also some ballot boxes had missing lids.

There are reports of Facebook and Twitter being shutdown meaning citizens are not able to access social media to report incidents around the elections.

The presidential race is seen as a three-way battle between long-term incumbent President Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement and two top opposition candidates – Kizza Besigye (Forum for Democratic Change) and Amama Mbabazi (Go Forward). There are 8 candidates in the presidential race with only 1 female.

Over 15 million Ugandans are registered to vote, casting ballots in over 28,000 polling stations for both a president and members of parliament, with 290 seats being contested by candidates from 29 political parties.

Over 150,000 police, soldiers and other security forces have been deployed to ensure tight security, election officials have said.

Polls are due to close at 04:00 pm (1300 GMT).


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