KAMPALA, FEBRUARY 19, 2016 (CISA) – Counting of votes is underway in Uganda after the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections were held yesterday amidst delay of voting material in some areas, detention of a leading opposition candidate and a ban on social media.
Jonathan Taremwa, spokesman for the Uganda electoral commission however extended the voting day for those who could not vote due to the delay.
“Some people didn’t get to vote. It was unfortunate, it was regrettable, and the commission offered an apology. Where there was fracas and the vote was not able to continue we postponed it. As I speak to you now, voting is continuing in those polling stations. So all is settled and all is well,” said Taremwa.
Dr Kiiza Besigye 59, who has previously lost presidential bids in 2001, 2006 and 2011, was also detained for a few hours.
In a press statement released by the Uganda Police, “Dr Besigye was apprehended for criminal trespass and assault and later released on police bond…he was later escorted by the police to his home in Kisangati. Further investigation into this incident is ongoing.”
“Why, here in Kampala where the Electoral Commission resides, would be the ones not to receive ballot papers which could even be carried on someone’s head and walked to the polling stations from their headquarters?” said Besigye.
As a result of the delay, some 36 polling stations in the city and the surrounding Wakiso district were due to re-open this morning.
The chief observer of European Union election observation mission, Eduard Kukan, addressing journalists at National Theatre polling station in Kampala said “Voting started late and distribution of voting materials has been a problem.”
“Besides polling stations opening late, voting has been calm and there is no tension, I want to express my hope that this continues so that Ugandans can have peaceful elections,” noted Kukan.
Preliminary results released show President Yoweri Museveni 71, who is seeking a fifth term after being in power for 30 years has taken an early lead.
Dr Kizza Besigye, 59 has worked as President Museveni’s doctor and former minister is the closest competitor according to the preliminary results.