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Ugandan election: Bobi Wine says he is under military siege

AU keeps mum amid leadership failures in Africa


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UGANDAN opposition leader and presidential candidate of National Unity Platform, Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, says his house has been under military siege for four days.

“It is now four days since the military surrounded our home and placed my wife and I under house arrest. We have run out of food supplies and when my wife tried to pick food from the garden yesterday, she was blocked and assaulted by the soldiers staged in our compound,” he posted on Twitter on Sunday.

He said everyone, including media and party officials, were restricted from accessing him, revealing that a member of parliament representing Mityana Municipality, Zaake Francis Butebi, was arrested outside his gate.

“He was badly beaten by soldiers. He is now in Rubaga hospital,” Wine further said.

Uganda’s electoral commission on Saturday afternoon declared that Yoweri Museveni, incumbent president, won the presidential election held two days earlier with 58.64 percent of the total votes cast while Wine came second with 34.83 percent of the total votes cast.

The election was marred by intimidation of opposition as the 76-year-old sit-tight president deployed sly tactics to win his sixth term.

Before the election on Thursday, the government had ordered a shut-down of the internet, an action that raised suspicions of rigging and manipulation.

Related Story: Ugandan election: Museveni deploys violent tactics to retain power after 35 years in office

Bobi Wine, whose house was taken over by the Ugandan security operatives, had alleged on Friday that he had video proofs of voting fraud, and would share the videos as soon as internet connections were restored. He added that he would take ‘every legal option is on the table’ to challenge the official election results, including peaceful protests and in the court.

More than 50 people were killed when security forces tried to stop riots in November over Wine’s arrest. Wine has petitioned the International Criminal Court over alleged torture and other abuses by security forces.

Although Museveni has been declared the winner, at least 15 of his cabinet ministers, including the vice president, lost the polls, with many losing to candidates from Wine’s party.

Uganda’s electoral commission said Wine should prove his allegations of rigging and deflected questions about how countrywide voting results were transmitted during the internet blackout by saying “we designed our own system.”

There were reports of the arrest of independent election observers and the denial of accreditation to so many international election observers, including members of the United States and the European Union election observers.

“Uganda’s electoral process has been fundamentally flawed,” the top US diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, tweeted Saturday, calling for the immediate and full restoration of internet access and warning that “the U.S. response hinges on what the Ugandan government does now.”

However, African Union (AU), as usual, has kept mum over the situation, with many questioning the relevance of the organisation.

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