Celebrated Ugandan singer turned politician Bobi Wine suffered a major setback after dozens of armed soldiers raided his political party’s headquarters.
On Wednesday, Ugandan security agencies surrounded Bobi Wine’s National Unity Party (NUP) headquarters and confiscated valuable documents and items such as election nomination papers, cameras, data storage machines and dozens of campaign materials.
Among items seized were T-shirts, caps, overalls and the red and yellow berets that have been the pop singer’s symbol for his rebellion against President Yoweri Museveni’s rule of more than 30 years.
Besides storming the opposition leader’s headquarters, the joint security forces arrested more than 30 people for sewing military symbols on Bobi Wine’s political party materials.
Uganda’s opposition said the raid was meant to intimidate the singer, whose political popularity has been surging by the day as next year’s general election approaches.
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“Wearing uniforms that are a preserve of the armed forces is illegal behaviour, which was escalating especially among some political groups and celebrities. It is a usurpation of the legitimate law enforcement and military functions,” Police spokesman Fred Enanga is quoted as saying.
He claimed the raid at the NUP headquarters in Kamwokya, a suburb in Kampala, was not politically motivated.
However, a defiant Bobi Wine vowed to soldier on and blamed the forces, saying they were being used to scuttle his political ambitions as he prepares to challenge Museveni in the February 2021 General Election.
“Museveni’s government is trying to block me from being nominated as a presidential candidate. From questioning my academic credentials to my age, now they are making every effort to frustrate my nomination and I want to believe that is why they took the signatures away,” Bobi Wine, who is also popularly known as the Ghetto President, told BBC.
“The military and police just raided our head office and caused mayhem. They are taking all valuable items. Living under a dictatorship is such a tragedy. Resisting it is such glory,” the award-winning ragga star said in a Twitter post.
He said he was meeting other NUP members at the time of the raid.