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Uganda: Security forces raid office of Bobi Wine

October 15, 2020

Security forces arrested several supporters and seized Bobi Wine's presidential bid papers. Singer-turned-politician Bobi Wine is seen as a challenger to Yoweri Museveni, who has been ruling Uganda for over 30 years.

Uganda Kampala Festnahme Bobi Wine
Image: Getty Images/AFP/Stringer

On Wednesday, Uganda's security forces detained opposition leader and presidential hopeful Bobi Wine, after raiding his office in the capital city of Kampala. The reason for the raid wasn't revealed.

"The police and the army raided the office of the NUP, sealed off the premises and all the roads leading to the place, before detaining Bobi Wine and other party officials," Wine's lawyer, Anthony Wameli, told AFP.

Wine was in a meeting with other leaders of his party, the National Unity Party (NUP), when police raided the office and cordoned off the area.

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Security forces also arrested several supporters of Wine and seized papers which had signatures endorsing his candidacy for next year's election and promotional materials like red berets and T-shirts.

Wine told Reuters that security forces had also seized 23 million Ugandan shillings ($6,200, €5,300) from his office.

Bobi Wine on Uganda elections

A spokesman for the police, Fred Enanga, told news agency DPA that security forces were looking for army uniforms in the NUP office they claim were being used "illegally" by civilians.

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"We were targeting all locations that are illegally supplying and using uniforms whose ownership and designs was gazetted and a preserve of the armed forces," said Enanga.

Bobi Wine, the stage name of Robert Kyagulanyi, a singer-turned-politician, commands large support among young people in Uganda.

Supporters of Bobi Wine gather outside his campaign headquarters in Kampala after armed police raided the office
Supporters of Bobi Wine gatheredoutside his campaign headquarters in Kampala after police raided the officeImage: Ronald Kabuubi/AP Photo/picture-alliance

He is seen as a challenger to the current president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, who plans to run for a sixth term in February 2021.

"It's the habit of President Museveni and his regime to intimidate his most fierce opponent especially ahead of elections ... This is basically to intimidate people," Wine told news agency Reuters, after the raid.

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Intolerance of the opposition

Wine announced in 2019 his decision to run in the presidential race to challenge Museveni, who is known for his intolerance of the opposition.

Museveni has been ruling Uganda since 1986 and has been accused by his critics of using the armed forces to stay in power.

Yoweri Museveni
Yoweri Museveni has ruled Uganda for over three decadesImage: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Novoderezhkin

Wine has been arrested several times, put under house arrest and charged in court, since becoming an MP in 2017. He has called for Museveni to retire.  

Meanwhile, Museveni has accused Wine of encouraging young people to riot. The president said that people associated with Wine are a misguided group being used by some foreigners to "destabilize" Uganda.

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am/dr (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)