US condemns deadly violence in Uganda after Bobi Wine arrest

Uganda's presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi.

Washington has chastised clashes that broke out in Kampala, Uganda and other towns following the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.

The 38-year-old, a pop star and National Unity Platform (NUP) Presidential candidate, was arrested yesterday ahead of his campaign rally in Luuka District, Eastern Uganda.

Following his arrest, a scuffle ensued between Bobi Wine’s supporters and Ugandan police leading to the death of seven people with several others injured, according to Uganda’s police spokesman Fred Enanga.

In a tweet, the US Uganda Mission, extended sympathy to the victims of the deadly violence and their families as they called for an end to the violence in the East African country.

“The United States deplores the violence that has claimed multiple lives today, and we extend our sympathy to the victims’ families and loved ones.  We urge all parties to renounce violence, undertake good-faith measures to reduce tensions, and respect fundamental freedoms,” it said.

A supporter of Ugandan musician turned politician Bobi Wine carries his poster during street protests against his arrest during a campaign rally. [AFP]

Police accused Wine of having more than 200 supporters recommended by the Electoral Commission as per the order to curb the spread of Covid-19 during the campaigns period.

But police have been blamed for using excessive force against the protestors.

Wine is challenging President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of National Resistance Movement in the upcoming Presidential election slated for January 14, 2021.

Museveni has been in power since 1986.

Securing a new term would potentially extend the 75-year-old’s rule to four decades. He has won five presidential elections so far.

In 2017, Uganda’s parliament removed an age cap from the constitution, allowing him to seek another four-year term. The country’s top court upheld the decision.