Thursday, 18 February 2016

Delays, long queues as Uganda votes

A voter in Kampala, Uganda.

Polling stations opened on time at 7am today, but delay in delivery of voting materials by the Electoral Commission EC and Police means there will be long queues in the sun for Ugandans before they vote. 

By 2pm, many areas were reporting they had not yet received voting material, including the capital city Kampala.

The EC acknowledged the delay but called for calmness. “Remain positive and rest assured you will cast your ballot today. All delays are regretted.” 

“Despite delayed arrival of polling materials in a few areas, Ugandans across the country are casting their ballots.”

President Yoweri Museveni faces a challenge from seven candidates but is predicted to win a fifth term and fourth decade in power since taking over in 1986.

Voting ends at 4.00pm (13.00GMT), but whoever is in the voting line at that point, will be allowed to vote.

Internet access was very poor in Kampala, meaning many people found it difficult to access social media, including Facebook, twitter and WhatsApp.

Uganda Communications Commission chief Godfrey Mutabazi revealed later on NTV that they had "switched off" social media because of a breach by candidates, who were campaigning on the platforms. Official campaigns ended on Tuesday.

He said the EC had asked them to intervene.

The EC PRO Jotham Taremwa however later appeared on NTV as well, and insisted they had not asked for a shutdown of social media.

Up to 2pm, access to social media was not accessible, a problem that started in the night.

The Electoral Commission reacted to the delays by extending the deadline for voting for Wakiso and Kampala from 4pm to 7pm for centres that have failed to vote by deadline time. Polling centures elsewhere who have not voted, will vote tomorrow, according to the EC.

"There has been a delay in delivery of polling materials in some parts of Wakiso district and Kampala capital city. The Electoral Commission regrets the delay," the commission said in a statement.

"The polling materials have now been delivered to all these places and polling has commenced in most of the places."

Highlights (click to read story)

Kabaka gets to polling station but does not vote

Kabaka at Kireka. PHOTO BY NEW VISION

Full Uganda election results to be ready on Saturday

KAYIHURA: I fear a camera more than a bullet

PHOTOS TAKEN early in the morning as the sun rose behind the main tally centre at Mandela National Stadium. Final results will be announced there.

Ugandan opposition leader Besigye has been arrested in Naguru.

@MalcolmWebb reported earlier that Dr Besigye wanted a house searched over rigging

Museveni lines via @newvisionwire

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