Explainer: Uganda Elections: What you need to know

Uganda Presidential candidates Yoweri Museveni (left) and Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine. [Courtesy]

Uganda will be heading to the ballot on Thursday, January 14, for both presidential and parliamentary seats. The incumbent, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, is seeking re-election, having ruled the country for 35 years.

Should he win, he will be serving his sixth term as president.

Here’s what you need to know about the polls:

Uganda's electoral law  

Uganda votes for new leaders every five years. As such, their next General Election will be in 2026.

Presidential candidates need to garner at least 50 per cent of the vote to be declared winner of the elections. Failure, the country goes for a run-off election.

Chapter 142 of the Uganda Presidential Elections Act of 2000 states that "a presidential candidate must be a citizen of Uganda by birth and be qualified to be an MP."

Candidates are also required to be of sound mind and have no formal connection with the Electoral Commission of Uganda.

Elections of District, Lord Mayors, Mayors and Councilors will be conducted on January 20.

Term limits were abolished in 2005.

When is the election?

The country will be headed for a General Election on Thursday.

According to Uganda’s Electoral Commission, there are 18.1 million registered voters in this year’s election.

A total of eleven candidates are contesting the country’s top seat.

Ugandans will also be voting for 529 MPs.

Polling stations open at 7.00 am, and voting only takes a day.

The Electoral Commission has encouraged voters to show up early to witness the opening processes.

The European Union says it will not deploy observers citing that previous recommendations have been ignored.

Who are the presidential candidates?

Eleven candidates are contesting the presidency among them; Yoweri Museveni, National Resistance Movement (NRM), his main challenger Bobi Wine of National Unity Platform, John Katumba-Independent, Willy Mayambala-Independent, Fred Mwesigye-Independent, Henry Tumukunde-Independent, Joseph Kabuleta-Independent, Nancy Kalembe-Independent, Patrick Oboi Amuriat-Forum for Democratic Change, Mugisha Muntu-Alliance for National Transformation and Norbert Mao-Democratic Party.

The presidency has attracted one female candidate, Nancy Kalembe.

We also know that Museveni has not publicly named a designated successor within his party.

Scores of opposition protesters have been killed and injured during the campaign period scarred in crackdowns on Bobi Wine’s rallies which the authorities say contravene the Covid-19 guidelines.