This photo taken on March 15, 2021 shows NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine and other party members being arrested by police in Kampala during a protest over missing supporters. PHOTO/ ABUBAKER LUBOWA
By Abubaker Lubowa & Job Bwire
National Unity Platform (NUP) president Mr Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine has been arrested as he led a peaceful demonstration demanding the release of hundreds of his supporters who are missing after they were arrested during and after the January 14 elections.
The runner-up in the presidential poll which saw Mr Yoweri Museveni declared winner was on Monday intercepted by police at City Square in Kampala as he led a group of his followers and MP-elects to demand for the freedom of his supporters, most of whom he says were kidnapped and tortured by security operatives.
“Bobi Wine arrested as he led MPs and other leaders in a peaceful protest against the abduction, torture and murder of his supporters. The protest was taking place at City Square, Kampala,” Bobi Wine’s social media handler posted.
Around 15 MPs and activists from Bobi Wine’s NUP party, wearing business suits and red ties, took part in the brief protest which was quickly halted by police officers and soldiers.
Bystanders cheered their support for the small group of protesters but did not join the demonstration itself.
Bobi Wine was first taken to Kampala Central Police Station before being driven in a police vehicle to his home in Magarere, Wakiso District which is “now surrounded by police and the military,” his Twitter account added.
Their arrest comes hours after Mr Museveni in his televised address Sunday night warned Bobi Wine and his NUP members of causing chaos ahead of his swearing in ceremony scheduled for later May.
“They have been planning that they will stop swearing in of the president. They won’t. They plan all sorts of crazy things including killing their own Opposition people to say it is the government,” Mr Museveni said.
The veteran leader also accused NUP of rigging elections just days after he said the poll may turn out to be the “most cheating free in the history of Uganda” in his victory speech hours after the EC on January 16 declared him victor.
“This group of Kyagulanyi cheated massively in elections. They rigged and did ballot stuffing; helped by the weak organization of (ruling) NRM party and corrupt people in EC and police. Those who helped them in Police abused their trust and are a disgrace,” Mr Museveni said.
Although Bobi Wine insists his call is for peaceful protests, the security Minister, Gen Elly Tumwine recently warned and said the Kyadondo East MP and his supporters were only using the protest as a scapegoat to cause chaos and violence.
“We’re tired, hungry, angry and oppressed; but we still have brains and are non-violent. We chose not to use violence and we are innocent. They cannot outnumber us. I ask you to demonstrate peacefully,” Bobi Wine said in his online address on the night of March 14 days after Mr Tumwine had said “They (Bobi Wine) are using the word peaceful demonstrations as a cover up. Leaflets with hate speech are being dumped and lethal weapons such as knives, machetes have been withdrawn from some protesters.”
Following the January 14 election, Bobi Wine was held under effective house arrest for 11 days until a court ordered his release.
Demonstrations against Bobi Wine’s arrest in November during the campaign for the poll were brutally dispersed and at least 54 people died.
The police pre-emptively declared Bobi Wine’s latest call for protests illegal and warned “organisers… to desist from participating in any unlawful activities”.
On Thursday Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for an end to what it called “ongoing abductions by suspected state agents and cease the unlawful detention without trial of opposition supporters”.
Mr Museveni and his ministers have admitted that hundreds of Ugandans are in military detention but say they will either face a military tribunal or be released.
“The children who were arrested by the security forces, many of them have been talked to and they have given us a lot of information and we have helped them to go back to their families,” Mr Museveni said Sunday.
Credit to Daily Monitor.