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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Uganda: Police ban rallies for pop star politician Bobi Wine

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Ugandan police said on Thursday that “unlawful rallies, processions, and assemblies” would not be allowed upon the return to the country of Kyagulanyi Ssentamu — also known as Bobi Wine.

Police said they would escort Ssentamu from the airport to his home to maintain order.

Ssentamu is returning to Uganda facing a charge of treason over his alleged role in an incident in August that saw Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade pelted with stones.

Ssentamu was arrested and his driver shot dead in the violence that ensued. He claimed that he was later tortured by security forces, causing the injuries required  medical treatment in the United States.

The 36-year-old Ssentamu has attracted a strong following among young Ugandans over his songs, which are critical of Museveni. He said the ban on rallies was evidence that the police were able to act with impunity.

“Am wondering why these police officers allow themselves to descend so low?” he tweeted. “They now want to decide who picks me and where I go upon arrival?”

Ssentamu was elected to parliament last year and has been strong in his criticism of Museveni. The 74-year-old president has been in power for 32 years and seems set to rule for life after the constitutional age limit on the presidency was removed.

Museveni has spoken recently about “unprincipled politicians taking advantage of our unemployed youth to lure them into riots and demonstrations.”

Ssentamu’s arrest on last month led to violent protests in the capital, Kampala, and drew international condemnation.

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