Uganda opposition leader Bobi Wine says under house arrest

Ugandan opposition leader and former presidential candidate Bobi Wine said on Thursday police had surrounded his residence and put him “under house arrest” ahead of a planned protest.

Opposition politicians had planned demonstrations on Thursday against the poor condition of roads in Uganda, which is hosting two global summits in the coming days.

Wine, a popstar-turned-politician, said police and soldiers had barred him from leaving his home in Magere, north of the capital Kampala.

“The cowardly military and police have surrounded our home and put us under house arrest but the protest is on,” the National Unity Platform (NUP) leader said on his official social media accounts.

“Fix our roads! Free Political Prisoners! Free Uganda!”

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, challenged veteran President Yoweri Museveni in Uganda’s last election in 2021, calling for an end to his iron-fisted rule.

Former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change opposition party said on Thursday that he too had not been allowed to leave his house.

“Barricaded at home by the COWARDS! No turning back; we deserve better. Please do what you can, wherever you’re, with whatever you have, to show the terrible roads affecting you today,” he posted on X.

A police spokesman confirmed the “security deployment” outside the two residences.

“We have taken some measures to stop them from instigating some people to hold unlawful assemblies and political demonstrations,” Patrick Onyango, spokesman for Kampala Metropolitan Police, told AFP.

“There is security deployment at Bobi Wine and Dr Besigye’s homes, not to arrest but as a preventive measure in line with police mandate.”

Opposition parties have accused the government of detaining homeless people and razing thousands of roadside kiosks in a clean-up drive ahead of the Non-Aligned Movement and G77+China summits in Kampala.

Wine has been arrested numerous times in the past.

In October, he said he had been placed under house arrest after being seized by security agents on his return from a trip abroad.

Police at the time denied Wine had been arrested, saying they had merely “escorted” the 41-year-old from Entebbe International Airport to his home.

The East African nation is currently hosting the NAM summit, with heads of state expected to meet on Friday.

It is due to be followed by a gathering of the influential G77+China group, which represents 134 developing countries.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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