Documents needed to secure the nomination of Uganda's self-styled ghetto president - Bobi Wine- are missing. This is according to the Kyadondo East MP, real name Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.
In an interview with the BBC, the musician and activist turned politician said dozens of armed soldiers and police carted away the documents in a scheme, he claimed, was geared towards scuttling his challenge to President Yoweri Museveni's bid for a sixth term in the February 2021 general election.
"Museveni's government is trying to block me from nominating as a presidential candidate. From questioning my academic credentials to questioning 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,” said the Kyarenga songbird.
Claims denied by police spokesman Fred Enanga. "It's not political. We are carrying out operations on misuse of some of the uniforms and accoutrements," said Enanga. "We were targeting all locations that are illegally supplying and using uniforms whose ownership and designs was gazetted and a preserve of the armed forces."
According to Bobi Wine's lawyer Anthony Wameli, the officers raided and sealed off the office nestled in Kampala while the National Unity Party (NUP) party leader was holed up in a meeting.
"The police and the army raided the office of the NUP, sealed off the premises and all the roads leading to the place, before detaining Bobi Wine and other party officials. This is despicable and an attack on democracy by the partisan police and the army,” he said. The reason for the raid was unknown but “politics cannot be ruled out,” Wameli told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Unperturbed by the raid, however, Bobi Wine declared that he has mobilized for the collection of fresh signatures from his supporters countrywide. “We have immediately communicated to our branches to ensure they start collecting the signatures immediately and hopefully by Friday we're going to have the required signatures," added the father of four, touted by observers as the greatest challenge to President Museveni, who has been at the helm of the “Pearl of Africa” since 1986.
The raid is the latest huddle on the path of the People Power movement maverick after he was a month ago taken to court over claims he doctored his age and falsely declared it to parliament and the passports office.
In a letter dated September 2 to Buganda Road Court, Uganda’s Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) sought to take over criminal proceedings instituted against the MP after city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi successfully petitioned Wakiso Chief Magistrate Court to issue arrest warrants against the popstar on grounds that he lied that he was born on February 12, 1982.
"Pursuant to Article 120 (3) (c) of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 and section 43 (1) (a) of the Magistrates Courts Act Cap 16, the director of public prosecutions is taking over and will continue to conduct the criminal proceedings in this case," read the letter in part.
"I have again written back objecting to the same. Am telling them Kyagulanyi gave false information 20 years back when he was getting his first passport, and the government never tried to inquire why there was that false information and has never brought him to book. It was after I investigated and brought the matter to court with my evidence that they are saying they want to take over the case. Of course, I am objecting," said Mabirizi in protest. "I was availed with all documents presented by Bobi Wine to EC in 2017 Kyadondo East by-election and I discovered dishonesty on his side."
In rejoinder, the Corona Virus Alert star admitted that there was a discrepancy in the records, occasioned by a change made by his father to enable him to sit for his Primary Leaving Exams (PLE), but clarified that he swore an affidavit in March 2000 to correct the anomaly.