Rigging Claims, Arrest Mar Voting In Uganda


Uganda’s opposition leader was briefly arrested as the country wrapped up voting in a presidential election his supporters claim was rigged in favour of long-time leader Yoweri Museveni. Al Jazeera witnessed police detaining Kizza Besigye, the main opposition candidate, as he and his supporters tried to show journalists what they said was a vote-rigging operation in a suburban house.

When Besigye’s supporters turned up at the house, several people fled before fighting with the opposition members, who then held them at the scene. The men were carrying guns stamped with police insignia and they also had handcuffs.  Besigye demanded that he be allowed into the house to check for vote-rigging, and was then arrested. Police later told Al Jazeera that the building was an intelligence facility.

Earlier, police fired tear gas at voters furious about delays at polling stations. Voting was scheduled to begin at 7am local time, but was held up for hours in several polling stations in the capital Kampala and the surrounding Wakiso district after ballot boxes and papers did not arrive on time.

Kampala traditionally shows strong support for the opposition.  “There was a bit of a delay at some polling stations because of logistical problems,” Jotham Taremwa, an election commission spokesman, said. At one Kampala polling centre, hundreds of frustrated voters shouted and gesticulated at election officials.   “They are denying us our constitutional right,” said Elias Bukenya, a 27-year-old teacher who suspected foul play.

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