Crowds and tear gas at start of Uganda presidential race

0
41

Patience Atuhaire BBC News, Kampala

Campaigns for the race to see who becomes Uganda’s next president have kicked off.

Eleven candidates – including long-serving incumbent Yoweri Museveni – will be vying for the top job in the polls expected in two months time.

Strict coronavirus prevention guidelines have been imposed on the campaigns, but sticking to them is turning out quite difficult.

President Museveni has begun his campaign in an area known as the Luweero triangle, which was the heart of the five-year bush war that brought him to power in 1986.

Musician-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, is on his way to the West Nile region, to start campaigns on Tuesday. Violence during a 2018 by-election in this region led to Bobi Wine’s arrest and him being charged with treason. He was later acquitted.

Police in the eastern city of Jinja have dispersed supporters of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Patrick Amuriat Oboi with tear gas. They had gathered along the highway to cheer him on as he headed further east to begin his campaign.

Health ministry guidelines discourage the politicians from drawing crowds, and to only address a maximum of 70 people.

But this has proved difficult as witnessed from nominations last week, when supporters of almost all the candidates gathered in processions along the streets and at trading centres.

The presidential race also includes two army generals who are Mr Museveni’s former war compatriots, and a 24-year old unemployed university graduate.

Ugandans will vote for a President and Parliamentary representatives on 14 January.