Ugandan police on Monday arrested singer-turned-politician Bobi Wine and sprayed teargas to disperse his supporters as he sought to kick off public meetings ahead of presidential elections next year. Wine, a popular figure among young Ugandans, announced last year he would challenge President Yoweri Museveni in the 2021 elections, and on Monday was scheduled to begin a week-long series of consultations ahead of the vote. But the first event at a Catholic Church in his constituency in Kampala could not proceed as police deployed before dawn to the site, prompting protests by his supporters, an AFP reporter saw.
Protesters set alight car tyres and blocked roads, while police backed by firefighters, armoured cars and water cannon used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Police spokesman Fred Enanga confirmed that Wine and members of his entourage had been arrested.
“We are temporarily holding them in our police station in Kasangati. We shall have to release them at some later stage but we are looking at charges of holding an unlawful assembly and disobedience of lawful orders,” Enanga told AFP. Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has already been detained a number of times.
He has had numerous attempts to hold concerts blocked since he was elected as an MP in 2017. Enanga said Wine planned to exceed what is allowed under Uganda’s election laws by “going early and conducting campaigns” as opposed to holding “consultations.