Uganda’s Opposition Leader Bobi Wine Under ‘House Arrest’ After Disputed Vote


Uganda’s Opposition Leader Bobi Wine Under ‘House Arrest’ After Disputed Vote

Two days after Uganda’s electoral commission announced that President Yoweri Museveni had won last week’s ballot, Wine and his wife, Barbara, were still under house arrest at their home in Magere, just north of the capital, Kampala.

“No one is allowed in, no one is allowed to go out. We’re stuck, ”Wine said in a telephone interview with CBC News Monday morning, adding that government security forces not only surrounded his house, but“ jumped over the fence and took control of my house. compound. ”

“We demand that they release me and that they release all political prisoners so that we can assemble freely, as provided by law, and discuss the way forward. ”

Wine said it was clear Museveni was trying to stop him from speaking to his supporters.

The government is worried, i will make a statement that will get people active. We have told the Ugandan people and we continue to tell them that they must be nonviolent, but that they must assert themselves. ”

Wine said his National Unity Platform (NUP) planned to launch a legal challenge to the results, which gave him 35% of the vote, and present evidence of electoral tampering once internet access will be restored to the land.

The government shut down internet providers just a day before the January 14th vote and a day after military tanks and security forces marched through opposition neighborhoods in Kampala, in a broadcast which it claims criticism, aimed to intimidate opposition supporters already injured by weeks of violence and arrests by government security forces.

Few analysts believed Wine had a chance of winning the election, given Museveni’s determination to retain the power and tools at his disposal. But they say Wine nonetheless remains a threat to Museveni’s grip on power, and that it’s clear Museveni sees him as such.

Although not necessarily ballot boxes.

“People are right that Mr. Museveni is looking beyond this election,” said Fred Muhumuza, senior lecturer in economics at Makerere University in Kampala.

“His greatest concern is the ideology that has started, this reflection that is starting to come. We saw it in the Arab Spring: once citizens feel that they are not well served by the services that have been provided by the government, it becomes very difficult to govern them. So I think there are concerns about the country’s governability in the future. ”

In a speech on Saturday, Museveni said the election was the fairest in Ugandan history.

His support and that of his party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), comes largely from rural voters and those old enough to remember the stability he brought to the country after the bloody legacies of Idi Amin and Milton Obote in the 1970s and 1980s.

“For the older generation, the Museveni [appeal] has to do with security, ”Muhumuza said. There are people who think [support for Wine] might have to do with other governments or foreign interests trying to take advantage of the youth and cause some sort of insecurity in the country. ”