African leaders stand with Bobi Wine as EU, UN condemn police brutality
By Mwangi Maina
| November 20th 2020
Popular African opposition figures and global bodies have waded in the recent arrest of Ugandan opposition politician Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine, as they call for his unconditional release.
Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Nelson Chamisa said in a tweet that he was following election campaigns and lamented Bobi Wine’s arrest saying the legislator being terrorised, blocked from campaigning and denied access to the media—rights he ought to enjoy as a contestant.
Chamisa, a critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, called out President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who is seeking to extend his rule to four decades for entrenching his ‘dictatorial habits’ in Uganda.
‘’Dictatorship must go, young people must save and serve Africa. Real change is unstoppable, #PeoplePower,’’ read the tweet by Chamisa.
Uganda’s Kizza Besigye called for the release of Bobi Wine, urging the people to remain firm and take actions to end ‘captivity’.
His South African counterpart, Mmusi Maimane called upon the African Union chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa to urge his Ugandan counterpart, President Museveni to comply with the African charter on human and people’s rights and African Charter on democracy, elections and governance.
Uganda’s General Mugisha Muntu who is also a Presidential candidate with the Alliance for National Transformation party has paused his campaign activities until Bobi Wine is released and his freedom to campaign guaranteed.
Mugisha further says the impunity with which security operatives are using in is leading Uganda closer towards a breaking point.
European Union and The United Nations
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said the Ugandan government should respect domestic rights and stop brutality against her citizens.
Joseph Borrell, who doubles as the European Commission Vice president, said the loss of life in violent incidents in Uganda is saddening.
The United Nations Sec-General Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said they were following the developments in Uganda’s presidential campaigns. Dujarric called on the state institutions particularly security forces to act in a manner that respects human rights and the principles of rule of law.
‘’Political parties, actors and government leaders should work in a way that will ensure a peaceful election,’’ said Stephane Dujarric while addressing the press.
The popular Ugandan singer and National Unity Platform (NUP) Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi continues to be detained in Jinja following his violent arrest in Luuka District where he had gone to campaign on Wednesday, November 18.
Ugandan police accused Bobi Wine of flouting Covid-19 guidelines that require presidential candidates to address less 200 people during their campaign rallies.
The arrest and detention of the fierce Museveni’s regime critic led to deadly protests in the capital Kampala on Wednesday and Thursday, leaving 16 people dead and at least 65 injured.
Wine, 38, is challenging President Yoweri Museveni of National Resistance Movement in the upcoming Presidential election slated for January 14, 2021.
The electoral body on Thursday evening issued a statement on the arrest of Bobi Wine and cautioned all candidates to desist from holding their campaigns in a manner that violates the guidelines regarding the conduct of campaign meetings.
‘’We reiterate that it is a violation of the campaign guidelines for a candidate and his/her agents to mobilize and/or encourage supporters to gather at campaign venues in large numbers in contravention of the Public Health (Control of Covid-19) rules of 2020,’’ read the statement signed by the electoral body chair, Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon.
The body further warns all candidates that continued violation of the guidelines may attract cancellation of their campaign programme.
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