Ugandans head to polls this Thursday

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NRM candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his wife Janet during campaigns. He swears in on Thursday

On Thursday, Uganda will head for the polls with seven candidates hoping to become the country’s next head of state. Ugandan election officials on Wednesday said they were expecting presidential and parliamentary polls to pass off peacefully.

NRM candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his wife Janet during campaigns

NRM candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his wife Janet during campaigns

Opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is expected to give a tough challenge to veteran leader Yoweri Museveni’s three-decade grip on power.

“The stage is set. We have dispatched electoral materials to all polling stations throughout the country and are ready to kick off the exercise,” national electoral commission spokesman Jotham Taremwa said. “We expect a peaceful exercise. Security is on the ground and we have put out messages calling on voters to come in big numbers on Thursday and cast their votes.”

Kizza Besigye campaigns with is wife Winnie Byanyima

Kizza Besigye campaigns with is wife Winnie Byanyima

Museveni and his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party are widely predicted to win a fifth term, with the 71-year-old former rebel leader entering his fourth decade in power.

Amama Mbabazi during one of his campaign trails

Amama Mbabazi during one of his campaign trails

Over 15 million Ugandans are registered to vote, casting ballots in over 28,000 polling stations for both a president and members of parliament, with 290 seats being contested by candidates from 29 political parties.

Transport fares to upcountry have more than doubled as most people head out of capital Kampala to participate in the voting exercise and others for fear of outbreak of violence after polls. 

Uganda’s Electoral Commission (EC) chairman, Eng. Badru Kiggundu said he will announce the new president 48 hours after the polls’ closure.

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