Uganda police arrest President’s rival, Bobi Wine, attack supporters

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Ugandan police used rubber bullets, live rounds and tear gas to break up a protest by supporters of opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi was arrested on Tuesday following the filing of his nomination papers, aides and witnesses said.

At least 15 people were injured in the disturbances at the home compound of Wine, 38, also a musician.

Wine has parlayed his relative youth and upbringing in a slum into a popular following against veteran President Yoweri Museveni, who is running for another term as a 76 year-old.

Bobi Wine aims to end Museveni’s 35-year, increasingly authoritarian grip on power that has made him Africa’s third longest-ruling president.

Wine was detained near a venue where nominations were being filed with the electoral body and then driven in a police van to his compound, which was full of what thousands of supporters who had gathered in protest at his arrest.

Police moved in, firing tear gas and rubber bullets as well as some live rounds over the heads of the crowd.

“The situation is very volatile…A lot of people have been injured,” an aide said from inside the compound. At least 15 people were injured from tear gas and rubber bullets, he said.

Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said in a WhatsApp message there had been injuries and police would give details later.

It was not immediately clear why Wine was arrested, as the election body had told him he met all the requirements for candidacy.

His youthful age, music and upbringing in a slum have earned him considerable popularity in the East African country of 42 million, unnerving Museveni’s ruling party and drawing periodic security crackdowns on Wine’s supporters.

“Mr Museveni, since you have failed to control your greed and lust for power, our generation is determined to save you from yourself and stop your 35-year-old dictatorship,” Wine said in a speech before his arrest.

Wine has said that being “born hustling and born to hustling parents, raised in the ghettos”, meant he could understand the struggles of ordinary Ugandans.

Since he expressed his presidential ambitions, police and the military have repeatedly dispersed his rallies, and beaten and detained his supporters.

But in a response to Lt. General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Museveni’s adviser for special operations, Wine was still as defiant as ever, as he declared:

“Only cowards & weak men boast of violence! You should be ashamed.

“Ours is a non-violent call for action. You know that in a free & fair election, your father the old tyrant, would be no more.

“This country belongs to Ugandans, not you and your father. You will soon understand that”, he wrote on Twitter.

Kainerugaba had provoked Wine by stating that his political activism cannot intimidate the Museveni regime.

“I told you my young brother, that you can NEVER intimidate us. We are much stronger than you can ever imagine to be. If you want to fight we will simply defeat you. We want peace! But if you attempt to fight us then Bring it on!”

Museveni was cleared to run in the elections on Monday. Elections are scheduled for February next year.

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