Ugandan pop star and presidential hopeful, Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine has been arrested by the police alongside members of his entourage for allegedly staging an illegal assembly.
Wine and his pressure group People Power had attempted to hold a rally and week-long series of consultations ahead of the 2021 presidential poll.
Protesters set alight car tyres and blocked roads, while police backed by firefighters, armored cars and water cannon used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
Edson Muhangi, a police commander accused Bobi Wine of planning to exceed what is allowed under Uganda’s election laws by “going early and conducting campaigns” as opposed to holding “consultations”.
“We are temporarily holding them in our police station in Kasangati. We shall have to release them at some later stage but we are looking at charges of holding an unlawful assembly and disobedience of lawful orders,” Muhangi told reporters.
Under Uganda’s 2000 election law, presidential aspirants may carry out nationwide consultation in the 12 months before their official nomination as candidates. The law also requires aspirants to introduce themselves to the Electoral Commission (EC) and notify local authorities of events planned in their area.
Since Bobi Wine became a legislator in 2017, he has rattled Ugandan authorities, who see him as a formidable threat to incumbent President Yoweri Museveni.
Museveni, 75, seized power as the head of a rebel army in 1986 and many observers say they doubt he will ever give up power through democratic elections.