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Bobi Wine, Kizza Besigye condemn re-arrest of opposition MP

From left, Kizza Besigye, Allan Ssewanyana and Bobi Wine. [Courtesy]

Ugandan opposition leaders Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, and Kizza Besigye have condemned the re-arrest of National Unity Platform (NUP) MP Allan Ssewanyana.

Ssewanyana was re-arrested moments after he was released on bail on September 23 outside Kigo Prison by heavily armed black-clad commandos - believed to be security officers - and whisked away to an unknown location.

The Makindye West MP had spent more than two weeks at the maximum-security facility located on the shores of Lake Victoria in Wakiso district, Central Uganda, on murder and terrorism charges.

Taking to social media following the dramatic arrest, Besigye, a former presidential candidate and long-time Yoweri Museveni challenger, shared a clip purportedly of the MP being forcefully bundled into a white van.

Besigye said the arrest of Ssewanyana was unlawful and infringed on the MP's personal rights. He called on Ugandans to stand up and protest against impunity and human rights violations.

“This outrageous abuse of rights and the violation of the rule of law, with impunity, calls on every Ugandan to protest and resist this NRM/M7 junta rule. Today it’s Allan; tomorrow, it’ll be you!” Tweeted Besigye.

According to singer-turned-politician Bobi Wine, the arrest was a testament to his earlier pronouncements that President Yoweri Museveni’s regime was allegedly arbitrarily detaining, torturing and killing opponents.

Bobi Wine claimed that thousands have been abducted, and similarly called on Ugandans to stand up against oppression.

“How thousands of our people have been abducted under the cover of the dark! A few weeks ago, Museveni came out to posture about human rights! We told him it was just a matter of time, he would be exposed. In no time, his men were at it again- torturing, abducting and murdering people. All Ugandans have an urgent duty to bring this to an end,” tweeted Bobi Wine.

According to Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Spokesperson, Brig Flavia Byekwaso, however, Ssewanyana – who was detained together with Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya over a spate of killings by machete-wielding gangs in Masaka, southwest of Kampala – had more charges to answer.

MP Muhammad was not released from Kigo Prison after his surety failed to append his signature on the bail release form.

“There are other charges that he needs to answer and it is not true he has been kidnapped. No one can do that to an MP. The best we do is rearrest. He has been taken to Kireka and he is safe. We would like to assure the public that there is no need for alarm,” Brig Byekwaso told the Daily Monitor.