Bobi Wine, the main challenger of incumbent Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in the election, said early on Friday that Thursday’s vote had seen “widespread fraud and violence” but the opposition leader remained positive as ballots are being counted under an internet blackout.
“Despite the widespread fraud and violence experienced across the country earlier today, the picture still looks good. Thank you Uganda for turning up and voting in record numbers,” Wine tweeted shortly after midnight (21:00 GMT), managing to bypass the blockage.
The 38-year-old former pop star-turned-legislator did not give details about his accusations, which contradicted the government’s account that Thursday’s vote had been peaceful with no extensive cases of violence reported.
The Electoral Commission is expected to release the results within 48 hours.
The internet remained down for a third day as vote counting continued in the country. Results are expected by Saturday afternoon.
President Museveni is seeking a sixth term in office and Wine has been arrested multiple times during the campaigning, is his main competitor among 11 opposition candidates.
The election took place after one of the most violent campaigns in years, with harassment and arrests of the opposition leaders, attacks on the media and dozens of deaths.
The run-up to polling day was marred by a sustained crackdown on Museveni’s rivals and government critics and unprecedented attacks on the nation’s media and human rights defenders.
In November, at least 54 people were shot dead by security forces loyal to Museveni during protests against one of Wine’s numerous arrests.
The US, EU, UN and global rights and democracy groups have raised concerns about the integrity and transparency of the election.
Meanwhile, the African Union (AU), has sent monitors, along with an AU women’s group.
On Wednesday, the United States, a key aid donor to Uganda, announced it was cancelling a diplomatic observer mission after several of its staff were denied permission to monitor the election.
On Tuesday, Museveni announced the suspension of social media networks and messaging services like Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp in response to Facebook closing accounts linked to government officials that the technology giant said were spreading misinformation.