Ugandan soldiers arrested opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine during a campaign stop Wednesday in the Kalangala district. This is the third time Wine has been arrested since launching his campaign to unseat President Yoweri Museveni.
“Kalangala is not one of the districts where campaigns were banned,” said Joel Senyonyi, spokesperson of Wine’s National Unity Platform party or NUP. “So, he went to campaign, but to his shock when he got there, the military surrounded him and arrested the entire team, 90 of them. Took them to different places. We understand he’s being airlifted, we don’t know to where.”
Senyonyi says the Museveni government is trying to frighten the NUP.
“But clearly all these are illegal acts being done by the regime, to intimidate us, to break our resolve,” he said. “But we are a lot more resolute than before. We’ll keep pressing him, we’ll keep going. Mr. Museveni must go.”
The Ugandan police in a statement asked the public to disregard what they call false claims by the National Unity Platform that Wine has been arrested.
Police say Wine was restrained for continuously holding massive rallies amid the threat of coronavirus, in what police called a total disregard of the electoral commission and Ministry of Health guidelines.
The police say Wine is being transferred to his home in the capital, Kampala.
They also say that part of Wine’s advance team was arrested because they were caught on camera deflating the tires of police motor vehicles, inciting violence, obstructing police officers on duty, violating the health and safety protocols, and various traffic offenses.
Human rights lawyer released
Earlier in the day, human rights lawyer Nicholas Opio was released on bail after nine days in prison.
Authorities have charged Opio with money laundering, but critics say he is being prosecuted for his support of the opposition.
Opio followed proceedings of his bail hearing on video from the Kitalya government prison facility.
A state prosecutor asked court not to grant him bail, arguing that his case was of a grave nature attracting a prison sentence of 15 years.
However, Justice Jane Kajuga turned down the request.
“I’m inclined to grant bail, rather than decline,” Kajuga said. “It’s this court’s decision that the ends of justice will be met by granting the applicant bail.”
According to the human rights organization Chapter Four, at the time of his arrest Opio was collecting evidence surrounding killings and arrests that occurred during two days of protests last month.
Fifty-six people were killed in clashes between opposition supporters and security forces after Wine was arrested in mid-November.
Critics say the Ugandan government has been targeting civil society organizations and leaders, particularly those who have taken part in election activities.
Uganda holds a presidential election on January 14.
Source: Voice of America