UGANDA: BOBI WINE WIFE ‘ASSAULTED’, HOME UNDER ‘SIEGE’ AND FAMILY IS ‘RUNNING OUT OF FOOD’.

Desperate calls for help, Bobi Wine under his siege by Ugandan regime security outfits at his home in Magere outside Kampala

This has led to deepening URGENT CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS AND UNITED NATIONS TO ACCESS BOBI WINE’s HOME IMMEDIATELY amidst HEIGHTENED ACUTE CONCERNS FOR BOBI WINE AND HIS FAMILY’s LIVES .

HIS CONFIDANT AND FELLOW MP FRANCIS ZAAKE IS IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER TRYING TO ACCESS BOBI WINE’s HOME.

In a desperate tweet on Sunday morning, a few days after the hotly disputed election, the leading Ugandan opposition presidential candidate, who claimed victory, stated that, ‘It’s now four days since the military surrounded our home and placed my wife and I under house arrest. We have run out of food supplies and when my wife tried to pick food from the garden yesterday, she was blocked and assaulted by the soldiers staged in our compound. (ADMIN)’

He remains incommunicado at his home in Magere as evidenced in another tweet where he stated that, ‘Everyone including media and my party officials are restricted from accessing me.@ZaakeFrancis was arrested outside my gate as he made his way to my house, he was badly beaten by soldiers. He is now in Rubaga hospital. (ADMIN)’

He told a press conference a few days ago that he had won the election ‘ by a far’ and implored Ugandans to reject results peacefully but with ‘contempt’.

HOME UNDER SIEGE

BOBI WINE FURTHER STATED THAT HIS HOME IS UNDER ‘SIEGE’, adding that HIS LIFE IS IN DANGER, after REGIME SOLDIERS AIMED GUN AT HIM AND JOURNALISTS INCLUDING JOHN SPARKS OF SKY NEWS.

The presidential candidate further claimed, in a tweet, that the military ‘had jumped over the fence and had now taken control’ of the home . Adding that None of these military intruders is talking to us. We are in serious trouble. We are under siege’.

The siege was corroborated by multiple media reports. In a shocking revelation, Sky News’s John Sparks, stated that ‘ a soldier pointed a gun at him & the Ugandan presidential candidate

INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION

In an interview with EYDER PERATA, NPR’s East Africa Correspondent, the presidential candidate said he rejected the fraudulent results and will use all peaceful means to resist the regime.

The UNITED STATES, issued a statement, stating that, ‘We are deeply troubled by persistent reports of fraud in Uganda’s January 14 elections, the Ugandan authorities’ denial of accreditation to election observers, violence and harassment of opposition figures, and the arrest of CSO members.

Coupled with authorities’ denial of accreditation to observers, Uganda’s electoral process has been fundamentally flawed. We warn against actions against opposition candidates or their supporters, those responsible will be held accountable. [2/3]

@AsstSecStateAF

We continue to urge restraint and rejection of violence by all actors as Uganda’s election results are announced. The immediate and full restoration of Internet connectivity is essential. The U.S. response hinges on what the Ugandan government does now’

The United Kingdom, also issued a statement condemning human rights violations. Other world figures calling for action against the regime including the re-known writer Wole Soyinka, who said that , “I consider it a crime against the future … for initiatives like his to be stymied, to be brutalised,” Soyinka said.

The lack of an international response has emboldened repressive actions within Uganda, he said, “The first contribution that the international community can make, especially the African community, is to serve notice to Museveni that he will be treated like a pariah if he engages in skullduggery over this election. That he’s got to play by the rules and he’s got to allow the opposition a voice,” he said.

In another development, the online activist group, Anonymous claimed to have hacked Uganda government websites. In a post, it stated, ‘Anonymous hits the government of Uganda in response to ongoing internet censorship. #UgandaDecide2021 #DictatorshipMustFall

‘FRAUDULENT’ ELECTIONS’

BOBI WINE, made a formal announcement of what he called ‘fraudulent’ elections, and said that his home had been breached by the ‘military’ and that they were in ‘serious trouble and under siege’. Reports also indicated that attempts to reach his home were been futile as Hon. Zaake had been arrested and his wife had ‘been roughed up’.

In a press conference the morning after the election, Bobi Wine also stated that, he was ‘very confident that he defeated the dictator by far’ and called on ‘Ugandans to reject the blackmail’. He added that Ugandans must reject the blatant usurpation of ‘their will and voice’. Concluding that Ugandans should remain firm and confident that through this election they have spoken loudly and clearly’.

He added that in 22 districts his agents are on the run. The EU did not bother to send observers due to an apparent refusal to meet many of their preconditions. The United States Embassy issued a similar statement a few days earlier.

There a video that appeared to show the EC chair of the country’s election, questioning the its own figures.

Bobi Wine gave another interview in his local dialect, Luganda where he repeated the same message.

In a tweet on election day, after the polls closed on election day, the 38 year old presidential candidate, stated that, ‘Hello Uganda! Despite the wide spread fraud and violence experienced across the country earlier today, the picture still looks good. Thank you Uganda for turning up and voting in record numbers. The challenge now is for Mr. Byabakama and the EC to declare the will of the Pple’.

Parallel reports, but unofficially confirmed results, from the NUP tallying stations, on various social media channels, appeared to suggest a result in favour of the NUP president Bobi Wine.

Earlier on election day, there were wide-scale reports OF BALLOT DELAYS, ARRESTS, ABDUCTIONS OF OPPOSITION POLLING AGENTS,SUPERVISORS AND KEY SUPPORTERS.

Bobi Wine on his way to vote on the 14th January 2021

This led to even louder calls for the international community to stand with the 45 million Ugandans.

There are now serious concerns that the Ugandan Election has not been conducted freely and fairly. Circumstances that could eventually have favoured the almost octogenarian incumbent, in power, since 1986.

Earlier safety concerns before elections

The main challenger reported that both his wife and his phone were cut off. If true, this raised real fears for his safety and his ability to communicate to his supporters, family and the international community. In a tweet, Bobi Wine stated, that, ‘Like my wife’s, my phone has been blocked and I am unable to receive or make regular calls. I know this is to stop me from communicating to our agents and coordinators. I encourage you comrades to be vigilant as I try to devise ways of reaching out to you. #WeAreRemovingADictator. Conspiracy by the dictator & his biased Electoral Commission is in a new phase. A plot to rig is set, internet is completely shut down & media is censored. However, the pple of uganda are firm and nothing will stop them from ending this oppressive regime’.

The Incumbent in power since 1986 on an a day before the 14 January 2021 election interview with Amanpour of CNN

Left to right: Justice Byamukama of Uganda electoral commission and in a meeting with Bobi Wine in December 2020

OPPOSITION LEADERS REACT

Another senior opposition party leader, warned of potential consequences of such actions by the regime. Mugisha Muntu stated that, ‘In Burunga Kazo, our coordinator has been arrested while in Ntungamo, a ballot box has been stolen. The regime is making it inevitable for Ugandans to not only distrust the polling process and results, but also everything “official”. This isn’t a road we should tread.’

Another independent presidential candidate was also quoted as having stated that, “I have just voted but look, after using the sanitiser, there is no evidence I have voted anywhere, you can tell the difference,” he said. “How do you buy ink pads bought from Nkrumah to defend elections, these are used for stamping documents when running a small company ….,” Mr Tumukunde added.

He is reported to have said that he would not concede.

Local Media reports

A local newspaper, the Daily Monitor, stated, that ‘Voting in the opposition stronghold of Masaka has been delayed this morning as the country goes to the polls.Despite delay in delivery of election material to polling stations, the Electoral Commission is yet to clarify if voting times will be extended’.

It added later that, ‘Hundreds of his supporters have been jailed without any charges being preferred against them while others have been prosecuted formally’. Such as in Bududa.

Election day reactions

Other commentators already judged the election as not free fair. Charles Obbo a prominent journalist, stated that, ‘#UgandaDecides2021 today, with social media shuttered. There has been no free, fair & secure election anywhere with a social media (& internet) blackout. So, people of the Pearl of Africa, be safe however you vote. DAY 3 of #WhileUgWasBlockaded’.

Another user tweeted : ‘#Kayunga Voting hadn’t started by 10 am over non functional biometric machines. One @PoliceUg officer per polling station in the villages but heavier deployment in towns. Huge voter turnout! People are staying after voting! #WeAreRemovingADictator #UgandaDecides2021'

An online popular handle @ekyootoNews , stated, ‘reaching indicate pre- ticked boxes are been delivered in kasali masaka. News reaching our desk indicate that the @UgandaEC has not yet delivered polling material in kampala’.

A local paper, the observer, reported that, ‘Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) and Democratic Party (DP) supporters in Kyotera were living in fear following the arrest of several campaign agents, strategists and supporters by unidentified operatives. Those allegedly arrested include among others; Sam Kiwanuka Lukyamuzi, Vincent Musajja, Sulaiti Kyambadde, Ronald Muwonge and Andrew Kawuma. Others have only been identified as Lusembo, Kasiita, Luyobya.The party officials say their members were arrested from their respective homes by unidentified security personnel on Friday, Saturday, Sunday last week and Monday this week. Charles Kirumira Lwanga, the Kyotera County NUP parliamentary candidate, says their members were picked up by armed operatives in uniform and some dressed in plain-clothes who were travelling in two numberless Toyota Hiace Drone vans who took them away’.

A local human rights organisation appeared to corroborate these reports.

‘It called on the international community while condemning the mass arrests, The People’s Human Rights Forum (PHRF) @UgandaHuman, stated that , ‘We condemn a massive arrest of innocent citizens in rural areas’.

Tensions and intimidation remained high as the voting continued throughout the day. But there also seems to be resolve, fortitude and hope to stand up to the killings, oppression and abductions by the regime.

The report was accentuated by reports like that of the shot Journalist Ashraf Kasirye being ‘brought from his sick bed at Rubaga hospital in an ambulance to cast his vote in Nansana. #UgVotes2021’

Background

Among the statements attributed to the incumbent, an almost octogenarian, but then young rebel leader now turned ruler, in power since 1986, is one that appears to have come full circle to haunt him.

After ousting the then military government of Tito Okello, the current ruler of Uganda, almost in power for forty years, is said to have stated that, “The problem of Africa in general, and Uganda in particular, is not the people, but leaders who want to overstay in power.” The same analogy can be extended to say that its leaders like him in particular and ‘Musevenism’ in general, that are Africa’s problem in general and Uganda’s main democratic stumbling block, in particular.

Since November 2020, the world has witnessed one of the most violent electoral campaigns in the world and certainly in the small country’s history. The leading opposition campaign entire campaign team and supporters have either been either abducted, killed or jailed. Supporters from the diaspora were either intimidated and arrested.

On the 18/19th, November 2020 scores of unarmed civilians were killed while others remain incarcerated despite court orders for their release while others remain unaccounted for in so-called safe houses.

Journalists were attacked with bullets, assaulted or threatened while others remain in fear of their lives. Throughout the campaign, Bobi Wine and the NUP party have seen their offices raided, blocked from using main roads, campaigning in key populated areas of his supporters, shooting of at his car with live bullets, killing of his body guard and other assistants.

The credibility and integrity of the entire electoral process was put in serious doubt after many journalists were denied accreditation or deported.

The United States Embassy issued a statement regarding the refusal of international observers while Facebook, twitter and Instagram blocked the regime propagandists.

The regime also switched off social media at a critical time when absolute transparency in monitoring the elections and the results was absolutely critical. There were regime imminently imposed a total internet blackout.

Perhaps more concerning was the excessive and unnecessary deployment of the military and other various paramilitary outfits with military grade weapons and hardware.

Some of the key leading clergy appeared made statements that called for the cancellation of the elections to allow another three years for the incumbent to organize another election.

Cumulatively therefore, there seemed to be deliberate sustained intimidation, oppression and violence against the population and in particular the supporters of Bobi Wine and his NUP party.

Added to that is the grim haunting fact that the country has never had a peaceful democratic transfer of power since it gained independence in 1962.

Brief History about Uganda

A few years after independence, Uganda was plunged into violent internal conflict in 1966 that saw the dethronement of the King also the President , who died a few years later in exile in his flat in Bermondsey, located in the London borough of Southwark. The country further witnessed the much publicised years of Idi Amin, which saw the raid on Entebbe.

It was during his regime that Ugandan Asians were expelled from Uganda. Idi Amin, himself having come to power by staging a military coup d’état, was also ousted violently. The country was again shortly plunged into incessant internal violent conflict in the 80s and in the 90s in the Northern region.

Conflicts that estimated to have cumulatively cost hundreds of thousands of lives of ordinary Ugandans, women and children.

Today

With the country due to hold elections tomorrow on the 14th January 2021, already tensions are amounting after the country’s electoral commission announced what was dubbed as ‘scientific elections’. Apart from official reports from organisations like HRW, as the current country twitter trends shows, there are increasingly strong concerns of gross human rights violations.

Potential regional Impact

Critically for the regional and international partners, Uganda lies in a delicate Great Lakes/East African region bordered by countries emerging from decades of brutal civil wars. Such as South Sudan to the north, DRC to the west, Rwanda and Burundi to the South, not far from Somalia. While Tanzania lies to the south and Kenya is to the East of Uganda.

Therefore, as we approach a fork in the road, given the country’s troubled political history, global friends of Uganda desperately want the country to succeed, through harnessing its natural and human resources to its maximum potential.

All parties need to ensure that this cycle of a violent political history and alleged human rights violations is significantly diminished to avoid history repeating itself.

Certainly, it is clear that the words of the incumbent rebel turned ruler, that “The problem of Africa in general, and Uganda in particular, is not the people, but leaders who want to overstay in power,” have turned around to haunt him and are more acute now than ever. The world, Africa, East Africa and critically Uganda, holds its breath and waits the outcome of a transformational 14th January 2021 election pitting a 38 yr old popstar turned politician, against rebel leader turned ruler.

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