Uganda Election: President Museveni in early lead, voting continues

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Uganda’s incumbent President Yoweri Museveni is currently leading in the presidential election followed by Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, a pop star-turned-politician, popularly known by his stage name Bobi Wine, the electoral authority said Friday.

The Electoral Commission, based in Kyambogo in the capital Kampala, announced that according to the first results of the election trickling in at the center, Museveni is leading in the polls by 1,536,205 votes, or 65.0% of the votes followed by Wine with 647,146 (27.4%) of the total votes counted.

Museveni, 76, from the National Resistance Movement (NRM) political party and Ssentamu from the National Unity Platform (NUP) party bagged 50,097 and 22,802 votes respectively received from 330 polling stations where only 153 votes were declared as invalid.

Wine, a singer-turned-lawmaker who has galvanized young Ugandans with his call for change, said in a tweet early on Friday that he was confident of victory despite “widespread fraud and violence” during the poll. He gave no further details.

Museveni, who has led the East African country with a population of nearly 46 million for 34 years, had not made any statement by 10:30 a.m. (0730 GMT).

On Wednesday, the government ordered an internet blackout until further notice, a day after banning all social media and messaging apps.

The election campaign was marred by deadly crackdowns by security forces on opposition candidates and their supporters.

Read Also: Bobi Wine, the ‘ghetto president’ rattling Uganda’s Museveni

Uganda’s normally bustling capital Kampala was quiet on Friday, a public holiday after Thursday’s poll, with shops mostly closed. Soldiers patrolled on foot in the rain in a suburb visited by Reuters.

Commission head Simon Byabakama assured the nation on live TV on Thursday evening after polls closed that results were arriving at the national tally centre despite the nationwide internet blackout.

“We are not using local internet to transmit our results, we are using our own system,” he said, without giving details of that system. “Don’t worry, results will come.”