Ugandan leader’s main rival detained

uganda police outside FDC hqImage copyright

Image caption

Police have not said why they raided the opposition headquarters

Police have arrested Uganda’s main opposition presidential candidate, a day after tightly contested elections, a BBC reporter at the scene says.

Kizza Besigye was detained during a raid on his party’s headquarters in the capital, Kampala, as he was about to hold a press conference.

Tear gas was also fired outside the building, our reporter says.

With official results for nearly half of the polling stations announced, President Yoweri Museveni is leading.

He is running for a fifth term, after 30 years in power.

This is the third time in the space of a week that Mr Besigye has been detained.

The police have not said why he was arrested or where he is being held.

The US embassy in Uganda condemned the crackdown in a post on its Twitter account:

Image copyright

After Mr Besigye was briefly detained on Thursday, the US State Department said the arrest called into question “Uganda’s commitment to a transparent and free election process”.

It also criticised a temporary shutdown of social media, chat apps and mobile money services.

President Museveni said the decision had been taken for security reasons, and to prevent people from “telling lies”.

Image copyright

Image caption

The security forces denied journalists access to the offices during the raid

There is a heavy deployment of police and soldiers in neighbourhoods around the headquarters of Mr Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, reports the BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga from Kampala.

President Museveni currently leads with 62% of the vote, while Mr Beisgye has 33%, according to provisional results released by the electoral commission.

Voting is still taking place in a handful of places where the late arrival of election materials meant that polling stations did not open on Thursday.

Image copyright

Image caption

Voting at some polling stations was extended into a second day after delays

Commonwealth election observer mission head Olusegun Obasanjo condemned the failure of voting stations to open on time.

“Delays of three, four, five and even six hours, especially in Kampala, are absolutely inexcusable and will not inspire trust and confidence in the system and the process,” he said.

A candidate needs to secure more than 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off with the second-ranked contender.

Ugandans also voted in parliamentary and local elections.

Final results are expected by Saturday.

Major presidential contenders:

  • Kizza Besigye, 59, veteran opposition leader and once personal doctor to incumbent President Museveni. He has lost the last three elections
  • Amama Mbabazi, 67, former ally of President Museveni and once prime minister and also served as defence, security and justice ministers
  • Yoweri Museveni, 71, in power since winning a five-year guerrilla war in 1986 and he is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. His final term was meant to end in 2006, but in 2005 he won a campaign to lift the constitutional term limits.

Uganda election: Issues, candidates and the poll

Uganda election: Old guard tries new tactics


comments powered by Disqus