Uganda elections 2016
Ugandans cast their vote in presidential and parliamentary polls Thursday at the Nasuti polling station in Mukono district, some 15 miles east of the capital Kampala. Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images

The Ugandan government shut down internet services and mobile money transfers in the country Thursday, citing security concerns, as registered voters cast their ballots in the ongoing presidential and parliamentary elections. Godfrey Mutabazi, the head of Uganda Communications Commission, confirmed to local television station NTV Uganda that it had temporarily blocked social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp, following complaints from the country’s electoral commission that the platforms were being used to bribe voters and to campaign past Tuesday’s campaigning deadline.

But that didn’t stop voters and journalists in the country from logging on to social networks. Various posts on Twitter reporting that social media had been blocked suggest that some Ugandans are using a virtual personal network, or VPN, to bypass the temporary ban. Presidential candidate and former Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi also told his Twitter followers to use “Tunnelbear VPN” to access social media.

There were also multiple reports on Twitter that ballot papers arrived hours late to several polling stations around the East African country. Some voters were locked out of polling stations hours after voting was slated to begin Thursday morning.

Thursday’s presidential election pits Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni against seven opposition candidates, including his former deputy, Mbabazi, and former military officer and physician Kizza Besigye. Museveni, who has ruled Uganda for three decades, is widely expected to win re-election. But recent surveys suggest this could be the most competitive election yet, as opposition against Museveni builds.

Uganda’s previous presidential elections in 2001, 2006 and 2011 were marred by allegations of ballot rigging, violence and voter intimidation. There are rising fears the same will be true for Thursday’s election no matter the outcome.