The main opposition candidate for president in Uganda was briefly arrested late Thursday, his aide said, as vote counting started in presidential and parliamentary polls marred by the late arrival of voting materials.
Kizza Besigye was arrested in the Kampala suburb of Naguru, where he had gone to investigate alleged ballot-stuffing in a house run by the intelligence agencies, said Shawn Mubiru, who is in charge of communications for Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change party.
The police did not respond to requests for comment. Besigye is Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s main challenger in the polls, in which six other opposition candidates are also standing.
Besigye’s supporters said the delays were deliberate and were aimed at favoring Museveni, whose rival is popular in Kampala. The head of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, called the long delays “absolutely inexcusable.”
Several dozen polling stations never opened on Thursday, and the election commission late Thursday said they would be open on Friday. The government also shut down access to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
In Kampala’s Ggaba neighborhood, hundreds of people waited for seven hours for one polling center to open before voting papers for the parliamentary election finally arrived. When the people found out there were no ballots to vote for president, they overpowered the police, grabbed the ballot boxes and threw them all over a field.
Police fired tear gas, and polling officers fled before any votes were cast. Read more