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Ugandans vote in charged election below web blackout – NEWPAPER24

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Ugandans vote in charged election below web blackout

2021-01-14 08:59:25

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  • Web in Uganda has gone down as residents head to the polls.
  • Veteran chief Yoweri Museveni is searching for a sixth time period in workplace, having dominated for nearly 4 many years.
  • He’s up in opposition to in opposition to singer-turned-MP Bobi Wine, 38, whose reputation amongst a youthful inhabitants has rattled the previous insurgent chief.

Ugandans started voting in a tense election Thursday below heavy safety and an web blackout as veteran chief Yoweri Museveni pursues a sixth time period in opposition to a former pop star half his age.

The web went down on the eve of the vote, with some components of the nation reporting full disruptions or vital slowdowns, after one of the vital violent campaigns in years.

Museveni is searching for a sixth time period in workplace, having dominated for nearly 4 many years, in opposition to singer-turned-MP Bobi Wine, 38, whose reputation amongst a youthful inhabitants has rattled the previous insurgent chief.

Within the Kamwokya slum, the place Wine grew up and is vastly fashionable, voters streamed to a polling station as police tried to implement social distancing after weeks of surging coronavirus instances within the East African nation.

A gaggle of about two dozen riot officers marched previous, with heavy army and police presence in different components of the capital.

“I’m right here to vary the management of this nation as a result of for years they have been telling me they may safe my future. They haven’t accomplished that,” mentioned driver Joseph Nsuduga, 30, one of many first in line to vote.

“I must see change for my kids. Individuals are craving for change however we’re seeing nothing.”

Voting was delayed in a number of areas within the capital Kampala, starting about half an hour after the official beginning time of 7am (04:00 GMT). Polls shut at 4pm (12:00 GMT).

Some 18 million voters are registered for the presidential and parliamentary vote, and outcomes are anticipated by Saturday.

Museveni has dominated Uganda with out pause since seizing management in 1986, when he helped to finish years of tyranny below Idi Amin.

As soon as hailed for his dedication to good governance, the previous insurgent chief has crushed any opposition and tweaked the structure to permit himself to run time and again.

The run-up to polling day was marred by a sustained crackdown on Museveni’s rivals and authorities critics, and unprecedented assaults on the nation’s media and human rights defenders.

In November, at the very least 54 folks had been shot lifeless by safety forces loyal to Museveni throughout protests in opposition to considered one of Wine’s quite a few arrests.

On Wednesday armoured-personnel carriers with mounted machine weapons patrolled components of Kampala and armed forces helicopters and surveillance drones flew over the teeming capital the place the political opposition has historically loved help.

The energetic and infrequently genial Museveni is lively on social media equivalent to Twitter – the place he launched an train video to assist residents keep match throughout lockdown – and retains help amongst voters equivalent to Ceria Makumbi, 52.

“He has introduced safety to our nation… He constructed hospitals, roads and introduced Uganda to a global customary,” the businesswoman informed Newpaper24.

Little oversight

The US, EU, UN and world rights and democracy teams have raised considerations concerning the integrity and transparency of the election.

Just one international organisation, the African Union (AU), has despatched displays, together with an AU girls’s group.

On Wednesday, the USA, a serious help donor to Uganda, introduced it was cancelling a diplomatic observer mission after too a lot of its workers had been denied permission to watch the election.

In an announcement, US ambassador Natalie Brown warned the refusal meant the election “will lack the accountability, transparency and confidence” introduced by impartial oversight.

On Tuesday, Museveni introduced the suspension of social media networks and messaging companies like Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp in response to Fb closing accounts linked to authorities officers the tech big mentioned had been spreading misinformation.

A ten 12 months outdated boy helps his blind father as they wait in a line to vote at a polling station in Kampala, Uganda.

Wine is the strongest of 10 opposition contenders attempting to unseat Museveni.

However most observers count on the ageing president and his ruling Nationwide Resistance Motion to emerge victorious.

He has by no means misplaced an election, and has been counting down the times to victory in assured marketing campaign ads, promising to take a position extra in infrastructure, well being and training and construct Uganda’s financial system.

However Wine, whose actual identify is Robert Kyagulanyi, has accused the president of presiding over corruption and failing to ship jobs.

Technology hole

The inhabitants has a median age of simply lower than 16, and lots of Ugandans have by no means identified anybody however Museveni in cost.

In Kamwokya Cate Nabbale, 20, a major college trainer, voted for the primary time.

“I’m so excited … I need to see Uganda rising, issues altering,” she informed Newpaper24.

Wine has vowed non-violent avenue protests ought to Ugandans really feel the election was stolen.

The opposition chief has urged them to end up in massive numbers and vote, saying they need to not worry intimidation by the authorities.

Museveni has warned his opponents in opposition to taking to the streets.

“If you happen to use violence to protest in opposition to an election outcome, that’s treason,” Museveni mentioned in a nationwide deal with Tuesday.

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