Two Opposition Presidential Candidates Are Arrested in Uganda

CAIRO — Two opposition candidates in Uganda who are preparing to challenge the country’s strongman president in an election next Februar...


CAIRO — Two opposition candidates in Uganda who are preparing to challenge the country’s strongman president in an election next February were arrested on Tuesday, the latest indication of a tough fight to come as they seek to end the autocrat’s three-and-a-half-decade hold on power.

One candidate, Bobi Wine, 38, a musician-turned-lawmaker who is the most prominent challenger to President Yoweri Museveni, was arrested just after submitting his nomination papers in the capital, Kampala. The other, Patrick Amuriat, was removed from his car and arrested at the headquarters of his party, the Forum for Democratic Change, the party said on Twitter.

Both prospective candidates were also prevented by the police from going to their party offices to address their supporters and set out their campaign platforms in an effort to end the rule of Mr. Museveni, the 76-year-old autocrat.

After changing age-limit provisions in the Constitution, Mr. Museveni is running for a sixth time and is due to face nine other candidates in the February polls. The country’s electoral commission had designated Monday and Tuesday as the dates for the candidates’ nominations.

Both of the arrested candidates will still be on February’s ballot.

The arrest of Mr. Wine — a popular musician whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi and who was elected to Parliament in 2017 — was not the first time he has faced the wrath of the authorities. The police have arrested him several times, severely beat him in custody and even killed his driver. His party offices have been raided, including last month, when the authorities confiscated election material.

Mr. Wine has drawn huge support in recent years, particularly among young people who are disillusioned with the corruption, unemployment, poverty and crackdowns on free speech that have come to define the East African nation under Mr. Museveni.

On Monday, Mr. Wine said the police had sent him a statement saying that they were going to escort him to the nomination venue. But after he filed his nomination papers on Tuesday, he was arrested after dozens of security officers surrounded the vehicle carrying him and his aides.

In a series of live videos on his Facebook page, a security officer can be seen using a lug wrench to break the window next to the front passenger seat. After a scuffle with those inside the car, officers opened the door and dragged away Mr. Wine, who was sitting in the back.

“Jesus, this is what the police is doing,” he could be heard saying before being lugged from the car. “We will not be violent.”

As security vehicles whisked him away, live videos on Facebook showed his supporters involved in a car chase with them.

After being blocked from going to his offices, Mr. Wine was taken to his residence, where he addressed his supporters. Defiant and raising his voice, he turned around to show that his suit jacket was torn and pointed to injuries that he said some of his associates had sustained in the incident.

Mr. Amuriat’s arrest took place at his party’s headquarters in Kampala, and officers brought him to the grounds of Kyambogo University, where he was to submit his nomination papers — although he did not have his shoes or papers on him when he arrived at the center, as he pointed out to the local news media.

After the arrests, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Mr. Museveni’s son, who is also a senior adviser to the president, tweeted a photo of himself with Mr. Wine, writing: “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.”

Mr. Wine tweeted in response to Mr. Kainerugaba’s post, “You should be ashamed,” adding: “This country belongs to Ugandans, not you and your father. You will soon understand that.”



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Newsrust: Two Opposition Presidential Candidates Are Arrested in Uganda
Two Opposition Presidential Candidates Are Arrested in Uganda
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