Uganda’s opposition leader Bobi Wine has claimed he was arrested, “beaten” and “tortured” by police on Tuesday.
The incident reportedly took place just minutes after he registered his candidacy to challenge President Yoweri Museveni in next year’s election.
“Right after nomination, Bobi Wine was violently arrested outside nomination venue! He’s been brutalised by police and military. They’ve blocked him from proceeding to launch his manifesto at office. It’s clear Museveni & his regime are in so much panic. WE SHALL OVERCOME Admin,” a tweet posted from Wine’s official Twitter account reads.
Wine later told his supporters: “We were abducted by the police and military … They were the ones that smashed my car,” the singer-turned-politician insisted. “They sprayed pepper spray in our eyes. I still can’t see properly. Very many people are in hospital in critical condition. This election is no election as usual – this is a revolutionary election. If it’s a boxing fight, it has begun.”
Wine’s claims of violence, intimidation and torture at the hands of the Ugandan police go back more than two years.
In September 2018, the government banned gatherings of Kyagulanyi’s supporters, limiting rallies and concerts ahead of any planned elections –the restrictions making it almost impossible for him to carry out a steadfast campaign.
August that same year, Kyagulanyi was forced to travel to the United States on bail to seek medical treatment for injuries he said he sustained in military custody following his arrest at the beginning of that month.
A police spokesperson accused Wine of planning an illegal procession that was dispersed to preserve the flow of traffic and public order.
“He was forcefully removed from his vehicle, and a fracas ensued in the process of transferring him to the police vehicle. He was eventually safely delivered to his home in Magere [a neighbourhood of Kampala],” the spokesperson said.