AFRICA/UGANDA - Presidential elections: tension for the arrest of Ugandan opposition candidate

Friday, 19 February 2016 elections  

Kampala (Agenzia Fides) - Ugandan’s main opposition candidate, Kizza Besigye, was arrested by the police this morning, February 19, along with Mugisha Muntu and Wasswa Biriggwa, two senior leaders of his party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC ).
This happened as vote counting started in presidential and parliamentary polls marred by the late arrival of voting materials, in about thirty seats in the capital Kampala and the neighboring district of Wakiso. The Electoral Commission therefore extended the voting by one day.
Besigye was arrested after the police had surrounded the headquarters of his party. In the early morning hours some clashes had occurred among supporters of Besigye and the police had to use tear gas. The situation remains tense at the moment.
Meanwhile, despite the extension of a day of vote, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission released the first partial results of the presidential elections, according to which outgoing President Yoweri Museveni, in power for 30 years, obtained 61.75% of votes, against, 33.47% of Besigye.
Controversy also arose for the decision of the Ugandan Commission for Communications (UCC) to block the use of social media, like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, on the day of the vote. But out of a population formed by 80% of young people aged under 30, many of whom use new technologies, this ban was circumvented by the use of systems such as Virtual Private Network (VPN). The Bishops had denounced the "dictatorial tendencies" in national politics (see Fides 18/02/2016). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 19/02/2016)