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Uganda votes in tense presidential election

Longtime President Yoweri Museveni faces strong challenge from pop star-turned-opposition leader Bobi Wine as he seeks a sixth term.

Ugandans have cast ballots in a tense presidential election pitting longtime President Yoweri Museveni against opposition frontrunner Bobi Wine, a pop star-turned-opposition leader.

The run-up to Thursday’s vote was plagued by the worst political violence in years, with more than 50 people killed by security forces amid crackdowns on opposition rallies, as well as the repeated intimidation and arrest of opposition figures. Police say their actions are necessary to ensure compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

Internet access has been cut off, and there are fears of unrest as security forces try to stop supporters of leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine from monitoring polling stations.

At polling stations in Kampala visited by Al Jazeera, voting began more than 60 minutes late after election materials did not arrive on time.

Museveni, who has wielded power since 1986, is seeking a sixth term against a stiff challenge from Bobi Wine, whose popularity among a youthful population has rattled the 76-year-old former rebel leader. Nine other challengers are also trying to unseat Museveni.

More than 18 million people have registered to take part in the polls. A candidate must win more than 50 percent to avoid a runoff vote. The vote count will begin when polls close at 4pm local time (13:00 GMT) and results are expected within 48 hours. Parliamentary polls are also being held.

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