Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine said troops ‘attacked’ the headquarters of his party, whose officials were preparing to launch a legal challenge to the declared victory of long-time President Yoweri Museveni in an election last week.
“Heavily armed military and police raided our party’s offices in Kampala again,” an update said on Twitter under the account of Bobi Wine, who is effectively under house arrest.
“No one has the right to enter or exit. Museveni, after committing the most vile electoral fraud in history, resorted to the most despicable forms of intimidation.
HAPPENING NOW: Heavily armed military and police raided our party offices in Kampala again. No one has the right to enter or leave. Museveni, after committing the most vile electoral fraud in history, resorted to the most despicable forms of intimidation. (ADMIN)
– WINE BOBI (@HEBobiwine) January 18, 2021
He told Reuters news agency that party officials were on the run while being pursued.
Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said the offices of the Platform of National Unity (NUP) had been cordoned off for security reasons, but he did not give further details and no did not say whether the troops had actually entered the building in the capital.
The electoral commission declared incumbent President Museveni re-elected on Saturday, securing a sixth term with 58.6% of the vote on January 14. Former pop star turned lawmaker Bobi Wine, who came in second with nearly 35%, rejected the results and accused his rival of winning by fraud.
Catherine Wambua-Soi of Al Jazeera, reporting from Kampala, said the NUP was in the final stages of ending its appeal against Museveni’s victory.
“Party officials told us they would table the petition even if they don’t believe the Supreme Court justices will not give them a fair hearing,” she said.
The run-up to the vote was marked by the worst pre-election bloodshed in years and a sustained crackdown on government critics and Museveni’s rivals. In two days of protests in November, at least 54 people have died.
The government says opposition members and their supporters violated public order laws and COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.
An internet shutdown, imposed during the period for alleged national security reasons, was partially restored on Monday. However, social media would have remained inaccessible without connection to the virtual private network.
Bobi Wine, real name Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has in fact been under house arrest since he voted and is now reportedly unable to receive visitors.
According to NUP spokesman Joel Ssenyonyi, lawyers for Bobi Wine were prevented by security forces from visiting his home on Monday to discuss his house arrest and take instructions on the petition to court against the results of the cases. elections.
The law gives petitioners 20 days after the results are announced to challenge them in the Supreme Court.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said security forces were “maintaining a security presence” around Bobi Wine’s home as a preventive measure against possible riots following the disputed polls.
Bobi Wine is allowed to leave his home under “escort” in order to prevent his supporters from “causing riots and violent protests,” he said.
Police also surrounded the home of opposition candidate Kizza Besigye after the 2016 presidential elections, preventing him from leaving after the official results of his defeat to Museveni were announced.
Bobi Wine said his campaign against Museveni was nonviolent and his supporters were unarmed.
The opposition party will seek a court order to end Bobi Wine’s apparent house arrest, according to Ssenyonyi. “His home is not a detention center,” he told the Associated Press news agency.
Bobi Wine told reporters on Sunday evening that some of his supporters “had been kidnapped and reported missing. The military is leading a massive campaign to arrest our agents. Many are on the run. “
Politician Francis Zaake was hospitalized after being assaulted by police who denied him access to Bobi Wine’s home on Saturday.
Ugandan police are holding at least 223 suspects for election-related offenses, police said in a statement on Monday.
Bobi Wine called on young people to vote against Museveni, a 76-year-old man who has held power since 1986. His songs have frequently criticized Museveni for corruption and nepotism, accusations he denies.
Museveni, one of Africa’s oldest ruling leaders, has dismissed the fraud allegations and said the election could turn out to be the most “cheat-free” in Ugandan history.
The United States and Britain on Saturday called for investigations into reports of fraud and other election matters.