The other main challenger, Amama Mbabazi, a 67-year old former prime minister and ruling party stalwart, accused the Museveni’s National Resistance Movement of planning to stuff ballot boxes even before voting began.
Besigye’s supporters said the delays were deliberate and were aimed at favoring Museveni, whose rival is popular in Kampala.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, head of a Commonwealth election observer mission, described the delays in getting voting materials to polling stations as “absolutely inexcusable”, adding that these “do not inspire trust and confidence in the system and the process”, Agence France-Presse reported.
But the government, citing security fears, shut down social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. “Then the people started to shout, ‘where is the ballot papers for president, where is the ballot papers for president?’ now in the angry way the people grabbed the box and they start tearing all the ballot papers of the what, the MPs”, Majidu said.
At polling stations where voting was delayed, crowds turned rowdy, blocking roads and burning cars forcing riot police to use tear gas.
He said ahead of the elections that he did not believe they would be free or fair.
Several supporters of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) have also been detained by the police, as they had tried to jump over the fence of the presidential candidate’s home.
He seized power 30 years ago as a rebel leader, following the brutal reigns of Idi Amin and Milton Obote.
As people voted in school playgrounds, church gardens and other outdoor sites, young men on motorcycles who appeared to support Besigye looked on from a distance, saying they wanted to make sure there was no ballot stuffing.
Right now, current President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled for 30 years, is hoping to continue on as president.
The electoral commission said all those standing in line when polls were due to close at 4:00 pm (1300 GMT) would be permitted to vote, and that polling centres where materials were delivered late in Kampala and Wakiso would stay open until 7:00 pm (1600 GMT).
More than 15 million people are registered to vote, for members of parliament as well as president. Many waited under the hot sun to vote at polling stations that at midday were still not functioning. “Many people didn’t get to vote”, said Ignatius Bahizi, a BBC reporter we reached in Kampala. “Nothing will discourage me”.
Ugandans cast their votes on Thursday to decide whether to give Yoweri Museveni, in power for three decades, another term in office. He is widely credited with restoring peace and presiding over economic growth, and is a key US ally on security matters, especially in Somalia. But his critics worry that he may want to rule for life, and accuse him of using the security forces to intimidate the opposition.
With Kampala traditionally an opposition stronghold and with many sceptical over the impartiality of an electoral commission run by a chairman who has presided over two previous controversial victories for Museveni, some see sabotage rather than incompetence in the election day chaos. He promised a more effective government, vowing to stem official corruption.