On Wednesday this week, protests broke out in Uganda’s capital after police officers arrested Bobi Wine. Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, focused on making music for Ugandans before starting his venture into politics. Currently, Mr. Wine is the leading opposition politician in Uganda seeking the presidency in next year’s election.
Bobi Wine Arrested
Mr. Wine was holding a political rally on Wednesday when the authorities arrested him. Uganda’s police spokesman Fred Enanga reported that they had arrested Bobi Wine for violating COVID-19 guidelines. Because of the coronavirus outbreak in Uganda, guidelines require presidential candidates to meet or address less than 200 people.
The Ugandan government set the measures in an effort to try to control the spreading of the deadly virus. However, on the day of Mr. Wines’ political address, his supporters showed up in large numbers, prompting the police to intervene. During the intervention, the authorities fired tear gas and bullets to disperse the crowd gathered. With the commotion ongoing, the police managed to arrest Mr. Bobi Wine in the eastern town of Luka. Later on, they took him to a police station in the city of Jinja.
Protests Begin in Kampala
After the arrest, it was total chaos in Uganda’s capital. Wine’s followers blockaded roads and burned tires in Kampala. Ugandan authorities were called in again to control the situation. Once again, tear gas and bullets were utilized in dispersing the crowd of angry protestors. Due to this, three people died, and 38 got injured in the standoff between the police and the protesters on Wednesday.
The protests continued on Thursday in different parts of Uganda. Clusters of youth engaged in running battles with police in major towns around Kampala while the rest of the country remained calm. Meanwhile, Bobi Wine remained in police custody for a second day. Mr. Joel Ssenyonyi, the spokesman for Wine’s political party, the National Unity Platform, said they had not been allowed to see him and didn’t know what was happening.
The death toll from the protests over the arrest of Ugandan opposition presidential hopeful and musician Bobi Wine rose to 16 on Thursday. Police said the country was experiencing the worst unrest in a decade due to the continued demonstrations.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman said the toll would likely rise. He additionally said that some hurt were badly off but did not disclose whether any of the fatalities were from new fights Thursday. Lastly, Mr. Patrick Onyango noted that police and army had been deployed heavily, and 350 individuals had been captured and put behind bars throughout the capital, Kampala.
Call for Uganda’s President to Retire
Mr. Bobi Wine has been arrested many times over recent years. He seems to have caught the imagination of many Ugandans with his relentless calls for President Yoweri Museveni to step down after 36 years in command. This Friday, at least 37 of his supporters have been killed by Ugandan authorities in different parts of the country. Mr. Wine was expected to appear in court on Thursday in the eastern town of Iganga, but this did not happen.