Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine on Friday claimed victory in a presidential election, rejecting early results which gave President Yoweri Museveni a wide lead as a "joke".
"I am very confident that we defeated the dictator by far. I call upon all Ugandans to reject the blackmail. We have certainly won the election and we've won it by far," he told journalists.
The 38-year-old former ragga singer turned politician has been the main rival to Uganda's veteran leader who has been in power since 1986 and is seeking a sixth term in office.
The internet remained down for a third day as vote counting continued, with provisional results from 29 percent of polling stations giving Museveni an early lead of 63 percent while Wine trailed with 28 percent.
"The people of Uganda voted massively for change of leadership from a dictatorship to a democratic government. But Mr. Museveni is trying to paint a picture that he is in the lead. What a joke!" said Wine.
He said the election was marred by "illegal, high handed actions which Museveni and his regime of blood have undertaken to set stage for the worst rigging this country has even witnessed."
He said he would detail the irregularities once the internet was restored.
Ugandans began voting in a tense election Thursday under heavy security and an internet blackout as veteran leader Yoweri Museveni pursues a sixth term against challenger Bobi Wine, a former pop star half his age.
Voting was delayed in several locations in the capital Kampala, beginning about half an hour after the official starting time of 7am (0400 GMT) and will continue until 4pm (1200 GMT).
Museveni is seeking a sixth term in office, having ruled for almost four decades, against singer-turned-MP Bobi Wine, 38, whose popularity among a youthful population has rattled the former rebel leader.
In the Kamwokya slum, where Wine grew up, voters streamed in to a polling station in a dirt clearing, as police tried to keep social distance as coronavirus cases continue to surge.
A group of about two dozen riot officers marched past, with heavy military and police presence in other parts of the capital.
Some 18 million voters are registered for the presidential and parliamentary vote, which will unfold in nearly 35,000 polling stations.
"I am here to change the leadership of this nation because for years they've been telling me they will secure my future. They have not done that," said driver Joseph Nsuduga, 30, one of the first in line to vote.
"I need to see change for my children. People are yearning for change but we are seeing nothing."
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