Uganda Sees Vote Results On Time Even as Some Polls Reopen

Uganda plans to start releasing election results on schedule even as a handful of polling stations will extend their hours after being hit by delays in the arrival of voting materials, said spokesman Jotham Taremwa.

President Yoweri Museveni, 71, is seeking to extend his three-decade rule in a race against four-time challenger Kizza Besigye. The winner will lead an economy aiming within two years for its first oil output that may be exported by a planned pipeline to the Indian Ocean. Election officials began counting ballots after voting officially closed on Thursday and have said they plan to announce the results within 48 hours.

Besigye, who was briefly detained on Thursday, has said the vote won’t be free and fair. Social media and some mobile phone services were blocked during the elections, in a move the Committee to Protect Journalists said could prevent information about potential irregularities from being reported and curb the sharing of information.

The European Union’s chief observer, Eduard Kukan, described the situation as “relaxed” earlier on Thursday and said long lines to vote suggested a high turnout.

Fourteen polling stations in the capital, Kampala, and 22 in the surrounding district of Wakiso will reopen from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, according to Electoral Commission Chairman Badru Kiggundu. He said locations in 10 other constituencies across the East African nation will reopen at dates to be announced later.

Museveni took office in January 1986 after a five-year guerrilla war and has been elected four times in disputed polls. He’s one of Africa’s longest serving presidents, alongside Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

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