Why was Presidential candidate Bobi Wine arrested twice in one month?

Shresta Hebbar Amsadi

23rd November 2020

Bobi wine arrest crates unrest in Uganda (Source: Republic World)

Forty-nine people were killed and dozens injured during the protests that broke out on 18 November across in Uganda

The police in the city of Kampala fired bullets and tear gas at Bobi Wine's supporters, who upon his arrest were in the streets demanding his release. Demonstrators were found burning tyres and debris on the roads and blockading roads. Several businesses closed down, and police presence was thickened.

Three weeks into his official presidential campaign, Ugandan musician and parliamentarian Robert Kyagulanyi (also known as Bobi Wine) has already been arrested twice. The first arrest took place just minutes after his formal nomination in the capital Kampala. The video released by his party shows the police smashing the window of his vehicle in which he and his colleagues were seated in.

Ofwono Opondo, a government spokesman, stated that the reaction of the police was appropriate. He held the protestors responsible for not adopting more 'peaceful methods' and failing to raise and 'resolve' their concerns via legal mediums, as reported by BBC.

His second arrest occurred on 18 November while he was campaigning for the upcoming January Elections against Yoweri Museveni which were interrupted by the police on the orders of the current government and was arrested immediately.

With the unprecedented arrest of Bobi Wine, protests that took the lives of at least forty-nine people began. The official reason for his arrest on both accounts was on the grounds of him planning illegal rallies which exceeded the number of allowed people during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Yoweri Museveni is the longest-serving president of Uganda with 34 years and counting in the office, and he hopes to stay in office for 4 decades. To get his 4 decades, in 2017 he changed the constitution which didn't allow people who were over 75 to rule. The critics have accused his party of using coronavirus as an excuse to get rid of his opposition.

The people of Uganda demand change as they are tired of being ruled by an autocratic government that is headed by Yoweri Museveni.

"It's not about Covid-19. It's about repression. People are very angry, and they are very right to be angry. People are tired of the double standards; they are tired of the oppression and dictatorship that has caused all these problems in the country," said David Lewis Rubongoya secretary-general of Wine's National Unity, to The Guardian.

The youth demographic who are gradually on the rise and are politically motivated are on the side of Bobi Wine. Bobi Wine, since declaring his presidential ambition, has been beaten and tortured on multiple occasions and yet firm on his dream to continue the campaign against Museveni.

Uganda hasn't witnessed a peaceful transfer of power since it attained independence in 1962.

(Sources: The Indian Express, Al Jazeera, The Africa Report, NY Times, BBC)

Edited by: Suditi Jha

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