September 24, 2021

cruciforme

travel, Always a step ahead

Uganda goes to the polls after bloody eight-week election campaign

2 min read

An unmanned aerial vehicle circled over the city in the nights ahead of the polls. On the eve of the vote the US ambassador to Uganda, Natalie Brown, announced the US would not take part in an already very limited electoral observer mission because so few embassy officials had received accreditation to monitor polls.

Limited UK and EU observer missions went ahead.

Although voting passed largely without incident in Kampala, Mr Wine said that in rural areas security forces had arrested polling agents and coordinators from his National Unity Platform (NUP) party.

He said: “In 22 districts our teams are on the run because they are being surrounded by police and soldiers as if they are criminals.”

An hour before polls closed police raided a central Kampala hotel where a local civil society organisation, the National NGO Forum, had organised a data-collection centre to monitor voting irregularities. Police accused the organisers of National NGO Forum of operating a “parallel tally centre” and arresting about 30 NGO workers, according to one staff member who escaped the scene and spoke to The Telegraph on condition of anonymity.

As the polls closed in one low-income neighbourhood in the shadow of Kampala’s main hospital, a crowd watched a presiding officer count ballots.

A cheer went up from the crowd each time a vote was allocated to Mr Wine while they jeered and groaned in disappointment at every vote for Mr Museveni.

“We don’t trust the system, we want to see with our own eyes so they don’t cheat,” said James Okiru, 28, a cleaner.

“Kyagulanyi will surely win if the votes are counted fairly.”

However, in Mr Wine’s heartland of the Kamwokya slum, Mohammed Bukunya, 55, did not share his neighbours’ youthful enthusiasm.

‘There are some young boys and girls who jump all day, they shout and make noise, it’s because they don’t know what they are doing,” he said on his way to cast his vote.

Mr Museveni is still held in high regard by much of Uganda’s older generation, who remember him returning stability to the country after helping to oust dictator Idi Amin.

The 76-year-old president voted in his home district of Kiruhura in rural western Uganda, about 155 miles from the capital.

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