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Uganda presidential election Yoweri Museveni
A supporter of Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni holds a campaign poster at a rally in the Kololo grounds in the capital KampalaREUTERS/Edward Echwalu
  • President Yoweri Museveni hopes to secure fifth consecutive term
  • Polls closed in most districts but delays forced Electoral Commission to extend deadline to 7pm (local time) in others
  • Unconfirmed reports that opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye arrested in Kampala
  • Allegations of vote-rigging have emerged, some confirmed by electoral observers
  • Block on mobile networks, preventing access to social media networks, chat apps and mobile money services
  • Campaign marred by bribes, intimidation and terrorisation
18:42

Polls have now closed in Uganda's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Delays in distributing voting equipment in a number of districts prompted the Electoral Commission to extend the poll deadline until 7pm local time (1600 GMT).

However, in 36 polling stations few voters managed to cast their ballots, and the commission said that polling centres in those regions will reopen on Friday 19 February.

There were reports of violence breaking out in some areas, but casualty figures remain unknown. Meanwhile, in the capital Kampala, main opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye was detained for several hours before being released. His party condemned the arrest.

President Yoweri Museveni's decision to block some social media sites 'for security reasons' on election day also came under a lot of criticism.

18:26

EXCLUSIVE: Criminal trespass charges 'an excuse', says FDC

Uganda opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye was allegedly 'arrested for trespassing on a military installation', according to his political party, which claims the alleged charges against the politician are a sham.

According to reports, Besigye and a number of his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) supporters had earlier claimed they had exposed a house in Naguru, Kampala, as a vote-rigging centre, according to Kampala-based Al Jazeera correspondent Malcolm Webb.

Later in the evening, however, his political party confirmed the Besigye had been 'driven home' to Kasangati while authorities said the politician had been 'released without charges'.

Police spokesman Patrick Onyanga told local media police were filing a case against Besigye 'on criminal trespass', adding that the facility that Besigye suspected to be a rigging site "was a police communication centre".

While the FDC asked not to reveal the source who confirmed Besigye had initially been arrested 'fortrespassing a military installation, an FDC official exclusively told IBTimes UK the party would reject the charges.

"It's basically the same as telling him he has trespassed a diplomatic house, but we all know that was a vote-rigging centre. It's just a blanket of an excuse," Thomas Ddumba, toldIBTimes UK from Kampala.

"Because, if you do trespass military installations, there is a formal charge for that. But, the way the authorities go around that is by getting (driving) him back to his house, so there are no formalities." He added: "Legally, they can't say it that someone has been arrested, and that's why the authorities have said they just picked him up and dropped him at his house."

Read the full story here: Opposition leader Kizza Besigye's arrest charges are 'sham' claims his party

17:23
Kizza Besigye casts his vote Uganda
Opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been 'driven back home' by police, a police spokesman told the BBCREUTERS/James Akena

BREAKING: Uganda's main opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye has been 'driven home' to Kasangati, his political party has confirmed.

His political party earlier confirmed Besigye had been arrested by police in Kampala.

According to reports, Besigye and a number of his supporters had earlier claimed they had exposed a house in Naguru, Kampala, as a vote-rigging centre, according to Kampala-based Al Jazeera correspondent Malcolm Webb. Allegedly, when Besigye and his team knocked on the gate of the compound, the house's occupants ran out the block, but were stopped and found carrying police guns. Police arrested him after apparently refusing to open the gate to the alleged vote rigging centre.

"Kizza Besigye left Rukungiri around 11am . He went to Kiruhura and found the army ticking ballot papers, he took photos and asked them what they were doing then continued to Kampala," the FDC official earlier told IBTimes UK.

"Reaching Kampala he was taken to a place where ticking of ballots was taking place. He requested the police open the house, and in the process he got arrested."

17:14

Uganda's Electoral Commission (EC) has announced voting in 36 polling stations in Kampala and Kyebando will take place tomorrow (Friday 19 February) from 7am-4pm (local time).

The EC earlier announced it had suspended polling in 14 polling stations in Kampala - including in the Makindye Division, and another 22 polling stations in Wakiso in Kyebando.

EC chairperson, Badru Kiggundu, meanwhile said the commission "would like to congratulate all areas where voting has been conducted".

17:10

Reactions from world leaders to Uganda's social media blockage have started to pour in.

First to comment, the United States Ambassador in Uganda, Deborah R. Malac, has criticised the blocking of access to social media on election day, saying it was sending "the wrong message".

17:04

The United Nations (UN) has condemned the social media blackout.

Uganda's ‎Country Representative at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Uchenna Emelonye, said the world body was "very concerned by the social media blackout in Uganda today", in a statement posted on Soundcloud.

According to Emelonye's analysis, the blackout was an affront to freedom of expression and affected the democratic processes and "credibility of the elections".

Listen to her statement here:

16:59

Votes have now officially closed in Uganda - after an extention of the deadline in some districts where the polls were plagued by delays and alleged vote-rigging.

In incumbent President Yoweri Museveni's home polling station, preliminary results show he scored 726 votes, while main opposition candidate - who was arrested this afternoon - Kizza Besigye got 2. Other candidates failed to attract any voters, according to Daily Monitor.

15:46

BREAKING: Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Kizza Besigye has been arrested by police in Kampala, his political party has confirmed.

According to reports, Besigye and a number of his supporters had earlier claimed they had exposed a house in Naguru, Kampala, as a vote-rigging centre, according to Kampala-based Al Jazeera correspondent Malcolm Webb. Allegedly, when Besigye and his team knocked on the gate of the compound, the house's occupants ran out the block, but were stopped and found carrying police guns. Police arrested him after apparently refusing to open the gate to the alleged vote rigging centre.

An aide of the FDC told IBTimes UK Besigye had been arrested and confirmed "we don't know where he is". The FDC member, however, was unable to say at what time Besigye had been taken by police.

"Kizza Besigye left Rukungiri around 11am . He went to Kiruhura and found rgw army ticking ballot papers, he took photos and asked them what they were doing then continued to Kampala.
Reaching Kampala he was taken to a place where ticking of ballots was taking place. He requested the police open the house, and in the process he got arrested," an FDC official told IBTimes UK.

More to follow...

15:37
Olusegun Obasanjo
Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the delays "do not inspire trust and confidence in the system and the process".IBTimes UK

Nigeria's former president and Commonwealth election observer Olusegun Obasanjo has described the delays in delivering ballot papers to polling stations in Uganda as "absolutely inexcusable", the AFP news agency reports.

Obasanjo said the delays "do not inspire trust and confidence in the system and the process".

As reported by IBTimes UK, some polling stations voters waited for five hours before election materials was delivered.

15:31

Supporters of opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye have claimed they have exposed a house in Kampala as a vote rigging centre, according to Kampala-based Al Jazeera correspondent, Malcolm Webb.

Vote rigging allegation in Uganda
Dr Kizza Besigye and supporters allege this house had a vote rigging operation inside.Twitter / Malcom Webb

Allegedly, when Besigye and his team knocked on the gate of the compound, the house's occupants ran out the block, but were stopped and found carrying police guns.

These allegations come just a day after an electoral observer told IBTimes UK the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), had been bribing and intimidating members of the public to support incumbent president Yoweri Museveni in the run-up to the 18 February presidential elections.

Read the full story here: Ruling party accused of bribery, intimidation and terrorisation ahead of vote

15:17
Kizza Besigye casts his vote Uganda
Kizza Besigye (L) was seen stopping for a selfie picture with a supporter after casting his vote.REUTERS/Edward Echwalu

While polls remain open in a number of districts, the majority of those who have already announced their results show opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye to be in the lead.

However, those provisional results thus far show incumbent President Yoweri Museveni trailing right behind Besigye in these districts - but he tops the ballot in others.

Find the list of provisional results here.

15:04

There have been scenes of jubilation in a number of districts of the capital Kampala after poll results were announced.

In Kagugube, crowds gathered to celebrate after opposition figure Dr Kizza Besigye - who is running for the fourth time on the ticket of the largest opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) - "won by a landslide", according to Isabella Tugume, a reporter at NBS TV.

Voting at Kagugube ended at 16:00 (local time).

14:53

A voter, who had been waiting all morning and afternoon at his polling station in St.Henry Primary School in Kansanga has posted a video purposely showing voters who still had not cast their ballot at 17:11 (local time).

The voter from Kampala, Hashim Wasswa, who earlier confirmed "people revolted" and "refused to vote because it's late", later said the police was on site.

He alleged the voting materials "only arrived at 15:30 (local time)" - 30 minutes before the polls were due to close.

Kasanga is approximately a 15 minutes drive from the Electoral Commission in Kampala.

14:42

The Electororal Commission (EC) has announced voting in Wakiso and Kampala districts "will end at 7:00pm" (local time).

These areas received ballot papers after 2:00pm - less than two hours before polls were due to officially close.

14:32

Where to find Uganda's elections provisional results?

Some provisional results have started to trickle from polling stations where voters were able to cast their ballots.

Previsional results can be found on Kampala's 993FM radio twitter account.

New Vision newspaper has set up a page that you can use to track the provisional results.

14:23

Social media users have started sharing a parody of Uganda's MTN - which shut down its services earlier this morning.

Parody of MTN logo in Uganda
Disgruntled users are sharing this parody logo of telecoms provider MTN, demanding that the provide brought back its servicesTwitter

The telecoms provider tweeted that the Ugandan Communications Commission had "directed MTN to disable all Social Media (and) Mobile Money services due to a threat to Public Order and Safety".

Despite the blockage preventing access to social media networks, chat apps and mobile money services, the hashtag '#UgandaDecides' has been trending as more users found ways to avoid the block by using internet proxies known as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

It is worth noting that the same tactics were used by Burundians in 2015 after the authorities requested a similar shutdown.

Disgruntled users are now sharing a photo-shopped image of MTN's logo - now EMPTYN- along with the hashtag #BringBackOurData to demand the operator enabled its social media and money services again.

Here is MTN's earlier tweet:

13:59

New videos have emerged online purportedly showing "angry and furious" residents running away from a polling station with a box "they claim had pre-ticked votes" before destroying the ballots located inside the box.

IBTimes UK could not confirm the location nor the veracity of the claims at the time of publishing.

13:51

At least six people have been injured during the Ugandan elections after a fight broke out between young supporters of the ruling party and supporters of the opposition party in Lubaga City, in Uganda's capital Kampala on 18 February, IBTimes UK can confirm.

One of the 41 short-term electoral observers (STOs) deployed by the African Union told IBTimes UK the observer mission had reported "scuffles between NRM and FDC supporters had left half a dozen injured, but no deaths reported". Lubaga City is located near Masaka Road in Kampala.

Read the story in full here: Six injured in fight between NRM and FDC supporters in Kampala

13:49
Uganda elections
Supporter of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party's presidential candidate and opposition leader Kizza Besigye hold a portrait of Besigye and a model of a key, the party's symbolWill Boase/AFP

Dr Kizza Besigye's opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), has emitted "concern" over the delays reported in a number of polling stations across the country, notably in Wakiso, Mukono, Jinja and Kampala districts.

In a statement sent to IBTimes UK, Wilberforce Kyambadde, the executive director of the FDC's campaign bureau blamed the Electoral Commission for the delays, which it said "weaken(ed) the spirit of Ugandans in particular areas who woke up very early to exercise their civic duty".

Kyambadde said: "These particular areas where voting has delayed are the easiest to reach by the Electoral Commission (EC) and therefore cannot have be due to technical reasons but a deliberate move to disenfranchise certain constituencies which are strongholds of FDC".

While the supporter warned these delays may "provoque people into some form of confrontation", Kyambadde urged FDC supporters to "protect your vote the best you can. Don't give up".

He also advised voters to remain at their polling stations until they are able to exercise their right to vote.

13:40

One of the 41 short-term electoral observers (STOs) deployed by the African Union, who is based in the Mulago District in the capital Kampala, told IBTimes UK he was concerned because "Museveni militants are now occupying nearly all the centre of town to dance their victory" while "elections are still under way and electors still try to go and vote".

According to this observer, members of his mission have asked leaders and representatives of these militants "to stop this sort of activity that can generate grave danger".

The militants have been "asked to stay calm until the proclamation of the complete results".

13:21

The Ugandan Electoral Commission has announced that 'election time has been extended to 7pm'.

However, this extension will only affect 'those polling stations that have not voted yet'.

Unofficial figures have emerged that at 16:00, only 40% of eligible voters had cast their votes.

13:19

Opposition figure Amama Mbabazi has asked voters who were unable to vote in the general elections to inform his party, Go Foward, about any issues.

He wrote on Twitter:

13:13

Hundreds of voters are still queuing at polling stations, according to witnesses, despite the 16:00 voting deadline.

13:05

Officially, polls in Uganda should now be closed (16:00 local time).

As voting is expected to start, more reports of irregularities are emerging - including voters using papers from exercise books to make ballot papers.

A number of Twitter users have also alleged voters "took papers from exercise books to make ballot papers".