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Uganda: US condemns deadly violence after Bobi Wine’s arrest

The United States (US) has condemned the violence in Uganda that has seen more than seven people killed and more than 50 seriously injured so far.

The violence broke out on Wednesday, November 18 when supporters of opposition presidential candidate Robert Kyagulani alias Bobi Wine took to the streets to protest his arrest.

The US Mission in Uganda is calling all the parties i.e. Bobi Wines supporters and the police to renounce violence and seek amicable ways of solving the impasse.

“The United States deplores the violence that has claimed multiple lives today, and we extend our sympathy to the victims’ families and loved ones.  We urge all parties to renounce violence, undertake good-faith measures to reduce tensions, and respect fundamental freedoms,” said the US Mission in Uganda.

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According to Ugandan police spokesperson Fred Enanga, the Kyadondo East MP was arrested in the country’s Eastern district of Luuka during a campaign rally in which he violated the Electoral Commission guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Enanga told the press that Bobi Wine’s meeting had more than 200 people and therefore in total disregard of the commission’s guidelines.

“But National Unity Platform (Bobi Wine’s party) doesn’t have control over these demonstrators. They don’t have the ability to restore a situation that has gone out of hand and yet they’re promoting violence. This is unacceptable,” Mr Enanga told state-owned Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) on Thursday morning.

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According to The East African, Bobi Wine was arrested alongside six others, including pastor Andrew Muwanguzi, who are currently detained in Jinja.

Bobi Wine’s team has since lamented over what they term as ‘a cruel way’ the government is dealing with the pop star.

“More than 24 hours after his brutal arrest & detention in Nalufenya, Bobi Wine has been denied access to his lawyers & his medical team! Only army & police officers have access to him. The violation of his rights with impunity must be condemned by all persons of good conscience,” said the team.

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The musician-cum-politician wants to unseat President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for 34 years now. 

Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, making him Africa’s third longest-ruling president, is seeking another mandate after he was cleared to run in the elections on Monday, November 2.

Ugandans are heading to the polls in February 2021.

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