Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine was arrested on Tuesday after handing over his nomination papers to the electoral body, his party spokesman said.
Wine, 38, a musician who became a politician whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, aims to end Yoweri Museveni’s more than a third of a century in power, making him Africa’s third longest-serving president. Elections are scheduled for February next year.
“They (the police) used a hammer and broke the windows of his vehicle and pulled him out vigorously … they bundled him in their own vehicle and took off,” said Joel Senyonyi, spokesman for the National Unity Party, adding that he did do not know why Vin was arrested.
Premises in Hon Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert’s home have currently been turned into a war zone by security forces. Hon Kyagulanyi is still confined in a police car parked right next to the entrance to his home. pic.twitter.com/53rUDacIVr
– National Unity Platform (@NUP_Ug) November 3, 2020
Police spokesman Luke Owoyesigire said he had not yet received a briefing on the arrest and promised to comment later.
Vin’s youthful age and his music have garnered him a large number of supporters in the relatively young country of 42 million, rattling the ruling national resistance movement party and pulling a security breach against his supporters.
In a speech after being cleared to run for president, but before he was arrested, Wine said he aimed to “save Museveni from himself”.
“To you, Mr Museveni, as you have not controlled your greed and lust for power, our generation is determined to save you from yourself and stop your 35-year-old dictatorship,” he said.
Don Wanyama, Museveni’s spokesman, did not respond to a Reuters call for comment, nor did he immediately respond to messages sent to his phone.
Vin grew up in a slum near the center of the capital Kampala, where he also has his recording studios and party offices.
He said that being “born in need and born to needy parents, raised in the ghettos” meant that he could understand ordinary Ugandans.
Since Wine expressed his presidential ambitions, police and military have repeatedly scattered his collections and beaten and detained his supporters.
Museveni was approved to run in the election on Monday.