Uganda opposition leaders under house arrest after calling for anti-government protests News
Mbowasport, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Uganda opposition leaders under house arrest after calling for anti-government protests

Ugandan opposition leader and former presidential candidate Bobi Wine said on Thursday that police had surrounded his residence and put him “under house arrest” ahead of opposition protests planned to take place later that day. 

On X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Wine shared that police and military forces were preventing him from leaving his residence in Magere, a locality north of the Ugandan capital Kampala. “The cowardly military & police have surrounded our home and put us under house arrest, but the protest is on,” Wine said in his message. “Fix our roads! Free Political Prisoners! Free Uganda!”

Leaders of the National Unity Platform party, Uganda’s largest opposition party, had planned for demonstrations to take place Thursday against the poor condition of roads in Uganda. 

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, first gained notoriety as an entertainer in Uganda and entered into the world of politics in April 2017 when he announced his candidacy for parliament in the Kyadondo County East constituency, in the East African country’s central region. He later ran for president in the 2021 general election, joining the National Unity Platform party. According to official results, he lost the presidential race to incumbent President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, though Wine claims the result was fraudulent. 

This is not the first time Wine has been placed under house arrest by Ugandan authorities. In December 2021, his home was surrounded by police and military officers, and roadblocks were set up to prevent Wine from leaving his home to attend scheduled campaign meetings for his party candidate in the Kayunga district chairperson by-election. 

In addition to Wine, former presidential candidate and member of the Forum for Democratic Change opposition party, Kizza Besigye, was also prevented from leaving his home Thursday. “Barricaded at home by the COWARDS! No turning back; we deserve better. Please do what you can, where you’re, with whatever you have, to show the terrible roads affecting you today,” he shared on X. 

Patrick Onyango, a spokesman for the Kampala Metropolitan Police, confirmed the “security deployment” outside the home of both politicians’ homes. “We have taken some measures to stop them from instigating some people to hold unlawful assemblies and political demonstrations,” Onyango told news agency AFP

Despite Wine and Besigye’s house arrests, the protests have continued. Taking to X, Wine shared footage showing supporters protesting and made further calls for action. “Wherever you see a pothole, plant there a banana stem, yams, or anything else you can!” he said. “Fix. Our. Roads!”