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Ugandan Presidential Candidate Arrested, Alleges Vote-rigging


An angry voter smashes a campaign placard of long-time President Yoweri Museveni, outside a polling station where voting material for the presidential election never arrived, at a polling station in Ggaba, on the outskirts of Kampala.

An angry voter smashes a campaign placard of long-time President Yoweri Museveni, outside a polling station where voting material for the presidential election never arrived, at a polling station in Ggaba, on the outskirts of Kampala.


Uganda held a national election for president Thursday, and there are accusations of unfair voting practices.

Following the election, Kizza Besigye, a “prominent” candidate for president, was arrested. Besigye and a group of his supporters accused authorities of ballot tampering and changing election results, according to the Ugandan newspaper, the Daily Monitor. He tried to enter a house where he said election results were being changed. Police blocked the candidate from entering the house.

VOA confirmed Besigye was released later in the day Thursday and taken to his home. International Business Times reported he was again arrested Friday morning and remains in custody.

Besigye has been a candidate for the office of president in the three past elections. He has faced President Yoweri Museveni in past national elections. Museveni has been president of Uganda for 30 years. This election, he faced a challenge from seven opponents.

Angry supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye confront military police firing warning shots, near to his party headquarters, in Kampala, Uganda Friday, Feb. 19, 2016.

Angry supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye confront military police firing warning shots, near to his party headquarters, in Kampala, Uganda Friday, Feb. 19, 2016.

Museveni was accused of election-rigging and intimidating voters in the 2006 and 2011 elections.

CNN reported that social media throughout the country was shut down on election day. A government official said social media was not available throughout Uganda for “security reasons.”

News organizations reporting on the election say voter turnout was large. More than 15 million Ugandans were registered to vote.

Because of the large turnout, some voters stood in line seven hours to vote. Voting sites ran out of ballots and polling stations opened late due to late deliveries of paper ballots.

The problems at the polls and the social media shut down led some voters to question whether the election was being conducted fairly.

One voter said: “If this is happening in Kampala, so close to the Electoral Commission, what is going on in the villages?”

I’m Jim Dresbach.

Jill Craig reported on this story for VOANews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

prominent – adj. important and well-known

tampering – v. to change something especially in a way that causes damage or harm

rigging – v. to control something, such as a game or election, in a dishonest way in order to get a desired result

turnout – n. the number of people who go to or participate in something

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