Ugandans Vote For President Amid Long Delays

Category: Politics / Feb 18, 2016 12:29PM EDT

Ugandans started casting their votes on Thursday (February 18) amid delays to decide whether to give Yoweri Museveni, in power for three decades, another term in office.

Voting at most polling stations in the capital, Kampala, started 90 minutes after the official opening of polling at 7 am local time (0400 GMT), leading to concerns among some voters.

All sides contesting the election accuse each other of stoking tensions and assembling vigilante groups, and the leading opposition candidates have predicted vote rigging.

Museveni faces two main challengers, longtime opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who has run unsuccessfully in three previous elections, and former prime minister Amama Mbabazi, who until recently was a close ally.

Security was visibly tight in most polling stations in the capital where one person was killed and scores injured during campaign protests by opposition supporters.

Museveni has warned opponents to expect a tough response from security services if violence erupts.

Museveni came to power in 1986 after waging a five-year guerrilla war. He is hailed by many Ugandans as providing decades of relative peace and economic stability. His rivals, however, are drawing strength from a clamour for fresh leadership.

A voter who witnessed the chaos in the capital two days ago, Olal Issac, said he expected the election to be free and fair.

"I expect a free and fair election though you can't judge it within here alone because I don't know what's happening elsewhere so I can't really commit myself to say it might be free and fair it will depend on what happens elsewhere," he said.

Voting is scheduled to last for nine hours, ending at 4 p.m. (1300 GMT)