Ugandan opposition urges voters to guard against rigging

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Uganda’s opposition frontrunner on Tuesday urged supporters to turn out in large numbers, and to protect this week’s election from rigging.

The presidential candidate, Bobi Wine accused the ruling party of trying to intimidate voters.

He alleged his home was raided and staff beaten by security forces ahead of Thursday’s election.

38-year old Wine, has emerged the main challenger to 76-year-old President Yoweri Museveni,  who has ruled since 1986  and is seeking re-election after constitutional changes allowed him to seek a sixth consecutive term.

The veteran leader has been accused of clinging to power and skewing the playing field ahead of the vote.

Meanwhile, campaigns have been suspended in opposition strongholds, and Museveni’s rivals denied permission to rally, under the pretext of containing the coronavirus.

The electoral commission, again citing Covid-19 regulations, has ordered the 18 million Ugandans registered in the presidential and parliamentary ballot to leave polling stations quickly after casting their votes.

However, Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said the ruling party was trying to scare voters away from the ballot box and urged them to record any abuses or irregularities on the polling day.

“We encourage all voters to stay and guard the vote,” he told reporters in Kampala, flanked by two other opposition candidates.

“We are telling you, you will not be breaking the law when you stay and protect your vote. We encourage you to use your phones, use your cameras. Your phone is a very powerful weapon, that camera is very powerful, use it.”

Last week, Wine’s party launched an app to track election results in tandem to government tallies but access to the service has been disrupted.

Facebook announced on Monday it had  shut a slew of accounts belonging to Ugandan government officials accused of seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of the elections.

Access to Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter was also disrupted in Uganda on Tuesday.

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Olajumoke Adeleke

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