On Sunday, Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine urged the international community to demand that he be released from “house arrest” after President Yoweri Museveni returned to office for a sixth term in a contested election.
The former ragga singer-turned-legislator, who was runner-up in the presidential election, hasn’t left home since Thursday, when he went out to vote, and has said his home is surrounded by hundreds of police and soldiers.
“We are here, we have run out of food, and nobody is allowed to come in or go out,” said Wine, speaking on a crackling “clandestine” line on a Zoom call with journalists as Uganda remains under an internet blackout.
“We have not been charged with any crime.”
Wine, 38, said he has video recordings of ballot box stuffing, soldiers pressuring people to vote in some way, or pre-ticking ballots, but that the closure of the internet is stopping his local attorneys from putting a legal argument together.
He called for international sanctions against Museveni, the release of political prisoners, the restoration of the internet, an international election audit, and “the kindness of all nations to re-audit their relations with Uganda.”
He said he was unable to meet his party officials in order to decide a way forward, but “we put on the table all non-violent, all lawful and all constitutional options, including peaceful and legal demonstrations.
Museveni said that it was the cleanest election in the history of the world.
The National Unity Platform of Wine said earlier that popular MP Francis Zaake, who was detained as he tried to visit his house on Friday, was admitted by security forces to the “badly beaten and brutalized” hospital.
Ugandan officials said there were soldiers and police for Wine’s own protection.
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said that on Monday the internet will start coming back online.
“We anticipate that by Monday the opposition, who have been misusing the internet, would have come to terms with the loss they suffered in the presidential election”.
Since taking power in 1986, when he helped to end years of dictatorship under Idi Amin and Milton Obote, Museveni, 76, has governed Uganda without delay.
The former rebel leader, once praised for his devotion to good governance, has crushed every resistance and tweaked the constitution to allow himself to run again and again.
After the most violent election campaign in recent years, his re-election with 58.6 percent of the vote, to Wine’s 34.8 percent, came with the intimidation of the opposition, the media, and the deaths of dozens of supporters of Wine.
US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus congratulated Ugandans for voting “despite an atmosphere of intimidation and fear” on Saturday.
She added that the US was “deeply troubled by the many credible reports of security force violence during the pre-election period and election irregularities during the polls”.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN