Uganda Votes for President Amid Internet Shutdown

KAMPALA, Uganda—Ugandans voted on Thursday amid heightened security and an internet shutdown after a hotly contested and violent race in which a youthful rapper-turned-lawmaker is attempting to unseat one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.

Some 18 million voters cast ballots at around 35,000 polling stations across the coffee- and oil-producing country to decide a presidential election that has sparked the worst political clashes in decades. Dozens of military trucks mounted with machine guns patrolled the uncharacteristically quiet streets of the capital, Kampala. State television warned voters not to wear clothing in colors that denoted partisanship, to “avoid trouble.”

Several opposition presidential candidates alleged the vote was being rigged by the government, pointing to widespread complaints of voting delays and irregularities, but fears of deadly street protests hadn’t been borne out by nightfall. The electoral commission said the vote had been “generally peaceful.” Demonstrations are expected when the results are declared on Saturday.

Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni has easily won previous contests since assuming power in 1986, but his winning streak appears to be in jeopardy in the face of a challenge from Bobi Wine, a 38-year-old musician.

Mr. Wine’s pledges to raise wages and end corruption—delivered on social media to bypass state-controlled news organizations—have struck a chord with younger voters in a country where most citizens have only ever known one president.


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