Uganda votes for long-time leader or popstar politician
KAMPALA, Jan 14: Ugandans wearing face masks to brave the pandemic voted on Thursday as police and soldiers patrolled the streets of the capital during a presidential election pitting long-time leader Yoweri Museveni against popular singer Bobi Wine.
Lines of voters were growing by midday at polling stations visited by Reuters in Kampala, a stronghold for an opposition galvanized by popstar-turned-politician Wine despite a campaign scarred by deadly crackdowns.
Voting began 60 to 90 minutes late at six polling stations visited by Reuters as ballot papers did not arrive on time. A ruling party spokesman said polling started late in some places due to glitches with biometric voting machines.
The government in the East African country of nearly 46 million people ordered an internet blackout until further notice on Wednesday, a day after it banned all social media and messaging apps.
Reggae artist and lawmaker Bobi Wine, 38, is channelling the anger of many young Ugandans who say former guerrilla leader Museveni, now 76, is an out-of-touch dictator failing to tackle unemployment, corruption and surging public debt.
Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, calls Wine an upstart backed by foreign governments and homosexuals and says his administration guarantees stability and progress, including much-needed hydropower dams and roads. -REUTERS