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Uganda: Over 120 Bobi Wine Campaign Team Members Charged

Bobi Wine, and his team were arrested on Wednesday on the Lake Victoria Island district of Kalangala by military operatives sparking protests at the site about 80 km (50 miles) southeast of Kampala.

Police in Uganda is arraigning before court 126 members of opposition presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alia’s Bobi Wine campaign team arrested last week, an official said.

Bobi Wine, and his team were arrested on Wednesday on the Lake Victoria Island district of Kalangala by military operatives sparking protests at the site about 80 km (50 miles) southeast of Kampala.

Bobi Wine was airlifted to his Kampala home in a military helicopter.

Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said in a statement that 99 of the suspects, who include members of Bobi Wine private security team, will appear at Masaka Magistrate’s Court on charges of assault of police officers, incitement to violence, malicious damage, doing a negligent act likely to spread an infectious disease and inconsiderate use of a public road, among others.

Security operatives in Uganda have been under international spotlight for using excessive force to disperse opposition supporters.

In November, at least 54 people were shot dead by the military after protests erupted following Wine’s detention during a campaign trail.  He was accused of alleged violating Covid-19 prevention protocols.

Police at the time said they had arrested nearly 600 people and accused protesters of rioting and looting.

United Nations human rights experts have since urged Uganda to curb violent security forces and drop charges against political opponents and activists arrested in what they called an election clampdown.

As elections draw closure, the Electoral Commission banned political rallies in some areas, citing Covid-19. Authorities have repeatedly accused Kyagulanyi’s campaign of holding mass meetings that may encourage the spread of the pandemic.

The 38-year-old says halting the rallies was meant to foil his gatherings in areas that Museveni had already visited.

Bobi Wine is the main challenger to Museveni’s re-election. The 76-year-old has ruled Africa’s biggest coffee exporter since January 1986 and became eligible to seek another term after parliament dominated by ruling-party lawmakers amended the constitution and did away with age limits for presidential candidates.