Uganda's Museveni has early election lead

Preliminary results show Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has an early lead in the election.
Preliminary results show Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has an early lead in the election.

President Yoweri Museveni has taken an early lead in Uganda's presidential election, according to preliminary results released by the electoral commission, as his main rival says he has proof the poll has been marred by fraud.

With 29.4 per cent of votes from Thursday's ballot counted, Museveni had won 1,852,263 votes, or 63.9 per cent, while main opposition candidate Bobi Wine had 821,874 (28.4 per cent), the commission said just after 11am local time on Friday.

Wine, a singer-turned-lawmaker who has galvanised young Ugandans with calls for political change, told a news conference on Friday he had filmed proof of fraud during voting, and that he wanted a peaceful outcome to the vote.

He had said in a tweet early in the day that he was confident of victory despite "widespread fraud and violence".

Museveni, who has led the East African country with a population of nearly 46 million for 34 years, had not made any statement by noon.

On Wednesday, the government ordered an internet blackout until further notice, a day after banning all social media and messaging apps.

Wine and his supporters used Facebook to relay live coverage of his campaigns and news conference after he said many media outlets had declined to host him.

The election campaign was marred by deadly crackdowns by security forces on opposition candidates and their supporters.

Uganda's normally bustling capital Kampala was quiet on Friday, a public holiday after Thursday's poll, with shops mostly closed. Soldiers patrolled on foot in the rain in a suburb visited by Reuters.

Commission head Simon Byabakama assured the nation on live TV on Thursday evening after polls closed that results were arriving at the national tally centre despite the nationwide internet blackout.

"We are not using local internet to transmit our results, we are using our own system," he said, without giving details of that system. "Don't worry, results will come."

Australian Associated Press