Bobi Wine fears for his life after Museveni declared poll winner

Monday, January 18th, 2021 00:00 |
President Yoweri Museveni supporters celebrate after the announcement of his victory on January 16. Photo/AFP

Uganda’s main opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine says his life is being threatened following Thursday’s election, which saw Yoweri Museveni win a sixth elected term. 

The singer-turned-politician told the BBC that he rejected the results “with the contempt they deserve”.

He alleged there had been a lot of irregularities but Museveni called it Uganda’s fairest ever vote.

Campaigns had been marred by violence in which dozens of people died.

Just ahead of voting day, the government shut down the Internet, a move condemned by election monitors.

They said confidence in the count had been damaged by the days-long cut. A government minister told the BBC on Saturday evening that the Internet service would be restored “very soon”.

In a phone interview with the BBC World Service, Bobi Wine, the stage name for 38-year-old Robert Kyagulanyi, said he was “worried about my life and the life of my wife”.

He said he was not being allowed to leave his house, which was surrounded by security forces. “Nobody is allowed to leave or come into our house. Also, all journalists — local and international — have been blocked from accessing me here at home,” he said.

Addressing what his party, National Unity Platform, might do now, he told the BBC that “all options are now on the table including, but not limited to peaceful protest” but he stressed  he was not calling for violent insurrection.

The opposition candidate earlier said: “I will be happy to share the videos of all the fraud and irregularities as soon as the Internet is restored.”

The result gives President Museveni, 76 and in power since 1986, five more years as president. 

Speaking after being declared the winner, he rejected claims of fraud, describing the election as likely to be “the most cheating-free” in the country’s history. 

Museveni also alleged that another country in the region had sent “agents to come meddle in our politics”.  “Foreign meddling will not be tolerated. We do not want foreigners interfering in our affairs. If foreign interference were a source of wealth then Africa would be the richest country in the world.”

The President’s supporters came out on to the streets of the capital, Kampala, on Saturday to celebrate his victory. Issuing the final result on Saturday, the Electoral Commission said the vote had been peaceful, with a turnout of 57 per cent of the almost 18 million registered voters.

But the EU, United Nations and several rights groups have raised concerns. Aside from an African Union mission, no major international group monitored the vote.

The AU has not yet commented.

President Museveni has seen off countless challengers during his three decades in power — helped along by constitutional changes, which have allowed him to continue running for office. 

Bobi Wine on the other hand casts a lonely figure — in his home on the outskirts of Kampala.  His key advisers have either been arrested or are in hiding. Nevertheless, he will continue to play a key role in Uganda’s politics. 

His National Unity Platform is expected to be the biggest opposition party in parliament. What he says and does can inspire millions both in Uganda and across Africa where youthful political movements are taking hold. -BBC

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