On 18 November 2020, Ugandan prominent opposition politician and music star, Bobi Wine whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was arrested again. Following his arrest, thousands of his supporters protested in the capital Kampala. The police, the army, local defense units, plain-cloth officers and intelligence operatives crushed the protests with heavy violence, including shooting with live amunitions and automatic weapons, and driving police and military cars and trucks straight into the marching masses.
Following the arrests and the killings, the situation is tense in Uganda, with the Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni accusing foreigh powers and homosexuals of being behind the riots and funding the opposition.
Bobi Wine was arrested while addressing a political rally and supportes in Eastern Uganda. He was accused of violating electoral commission guidelines, including the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The violence officially led to 45 injured and 16 deaths. However, the casualities are expected to be much higher according to witnesses and graphic pictures taken by witnesses. Some sources said that at least 37 people were killed and more than 100 injured. Pictures of ome bodies lying on streets with crushed limbs and heads, and bodies torn apart, ciruclated on social media. Boby Wine was detained along with five supporters and another opposition presidential candidate, Patrick Amuriat, the leader of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
The frequent arrests of Bobi Wine put in questions of whether the already questionable presidential elections, planned for January 14, 2021. Bobi Wine is very popular across Uganda and around the World for his music and the wide support among the young people, the grass-root and the intellectuals. However, he is challenging Yoweri Museveni, one of the well known African ruthless and brutal dictators and started, early on, attracting the ire from Yoweri Museveni, who after the 35-year reign is one the top longest-ruling dictators in Africa (see AfroAmerica Network African Dictators Who Mattered In 2018: Congolese Joseph Kabila, Rwandan Paul Kagame, Ugandan Yoweri Museveni)
Yoweri Museveni, 76, Africa's third longest-serving dictator, filed his candidacy Monday as the candiate of the ruling the National Resistance Movement party.
Most Ugandans, in a country of 42 million, the ones now behind Bobi Wine, have only known Yoweri Museveni as the president. He had the constitution amended for a second time to allow him to run a sixth time in 2021.
To remain in power, unchallnged, Yoweri Museveni's strategy is to use unrelentless repression against the opposition including violent attacks of protesters and supporters by the police, frequent arrests and releases of political leaders, and raids to party offices and headquarters, intimidations against family members and relatives, and closing or destruction of private businesses owned or operated by opposition leaders and their supporters.
Hence, since Bobi Wine started challenging the rule, Yoweri Museveni's army, intelligence services, and police have conducted periodic security crackdowns on Bobi Wine and his supporters. He has aften said that his political drive comes from his connection with ordinary Ugandans and his understanding their struggles since he was "born hustling and born to hustling parents, raised in the ghettos".
Since he expressed his presidential ambitions, police and the military have repeatedly dispersed his rallies, and beaten and detained his supporters.
In 2018, Bobi Wine was tortured by the police in a detention and was urgently flow to the United States for medical treatment. In his tweet then, he said: "Safely arrived in the US where I'll be receiving specialised treatment following the brutal torture at the hands of SFC soldiers. We thank the world for standing with us. I will soon tell you what exactly happened to me since 13th August and what is next. #peoplepower Power"
Uganda: 2021 Contested and Already Violent Elections, with a foregone Conclusion.
Many believe that Museveni’s on January 14, 2021 is a foregone conclusion. Although, officially the multiparty system was reintroduced more than ten years ago, the ruling party, National Resistance Movement or NRM, under Yoweri Museveni, reigns on the country and dominates all the institutions, including the parliament, the judiciary, the military and the government. Already, there are rumors that Yoweri Museveni is planning for his next reelection, in 2026. He will then be more than 80 years old. Hence, the eyes are on his son, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, as the most likely heir to the throne.
Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba is Yoweri Museveni's Special advisor on special operations. He is the former cmmander of the Presidential Guard Brigade (PGB), now known as the Special Forces Command (SFC), an elite force comprising of the selected soldiers from Yoweri Museveni's clan and whose mission is to protect Yoweri Museveni, his family and relatives and the NRM regime.
When Bobi Wine was arrested on November 3, 2020, Lt Genl Muhoozi Kainerugaba said that National Unity Platform (NUP) principle and Presidential contender Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine will be defeated, in the following tweet: “I told you, my young brother, that you can NEVER intimidate us. We are much stronger than you can ever imagine being. If you want to fight we will simply defeat you. We want peace! But if you attempt to fight us then Bring it on!”
In his response, Bobi Wine said that Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba should be ashamed, as only cowards and weak men boast of violence. Adding that his struggle for a new Uganda is a non-violent call for action, Bobi Wine added:
“You know that in a free & fair election, your father the old tyrant, would be no more. This country belongs to Ugandans, not you and your father. You will soon understand that.”
Yoweri Museveni Blames Foreign Powers and Homosexuals For Sponsoring Opposition
Following Bobi Wine's arrest and riots, Yoweri Museveni, while speaking during his campaigns in Kotido town in Northern Uganda, said that foreigners and homosexual groups were behind the riots and were funding the opposition rallies to cause unrest in Uganda.
“Some of these groups are being used by outsiders, homosexuals, and others who don’t like the stability and independence of Uganda, but they will discover what they are looking for,” Yoweri Museveni said, threatening the opposition leaders that they will seriously regret it.
“Those who have been attacking NRM people in the Kampala area will soon lose that appetite, they have entered an area we know very well, the area of fighting, they will regret,” he added.
Local Traditional Leaders Warn Yoweri Museveni's Government
Following arrests and killings, Buganda Kingdom and other local traditional leaders have urged Yoweri Museveni's NRM government to respect human rights. In a press conference held at Bulange, Mengo, Buganda KIngdom premier minister, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga, said:
“The government says that they are trying stop acts that may lead to COVID-19, which is okay because COVID-19 is real and it kills, but it doesn’t mean that whoever doesn’t follow the guidelines should be treated in a way that violates their rights."
He called on the government, the police, the military and security forces to refrain and stop acts that may lead the country into anarchy.
Before his arrest on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, Bobi Wine said in a speech:
"...Mr Museveni, since you have failed to control your greed and lust for power, our generation is determined to save you from yourself and stop your 35-year-old dictatorship,"
Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the leader of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), was also arrested on November 3, 2020, and paraded, shoeless, by the police. He then told the media. "It is disgusting, disappointing, but this was expected by a regime that is shameless, desperate to cling to power," he told AFP.
The US embassy in Kampala had issued a security alert warning of "elevated potential for civil disturbances" near the university on Tuesday, and advised Americans to steer clear.
@AfroAmerica Network 2020