KAMPALA – Ugandan opposition figure Bobi Wine is urging the international community to back up concerns over the country’s disputed elections with “strong actions” against President Yoweri Museveni’s government.
Wine, who is disputing his loss to the long-time leader in last month’s presidential elections, told reporters that he hopes “the world will stand with the people of Uganda.”
“Gen. Museveni, like all dictators, is not moved by words,” said Wine, a 38-year-old singer and legislator whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. He spoke via video link from his house on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, where he said he effectively remains under house arrest.
“We hope that there will be more action following the strongly worded statements,” he said of international condemnation of the elections.
Museveni is a United States ally who took power by force in 1986 and has been elected multiple times. He has collaborated with Washington to battle the Islamic extremist insurgency in Somalia, where Uganda was the first to deploy troops to defend the weak federal government there.
But Museveni’s ties with the West appear to be cooling as criticism grows over alleged abuses by his security forces as well as his extended stay in power. Museveni is now accusing Wine of being a foreign agent, and has said that foreign meddling in Uganda “will not be tolerated.”
It emerged this week that in January he ordered the suspension of a multimillion-dollar fund backed by European nations that supports the work of scores of local groups —- including government agencies — focusing on good governance, human rights and accountability.
The United States and the European Union have noted concerns about Uganda’s elections. The U.S. ambassador, Natalie E. Brown, recently cited “deep and continuing concern about the extrajudicial detention of opposition political party members, the reported disappearance of several opposition supporters, and continued restrictions” of Wine’s party.
Ugandan attorneys for Wine this week filed a legal challenge with Uganda’s Supreme Court seeking to nullify Museveni’s victory and bar him from ever running for the presidency again. It remains unclear when oral arguments will start. Museveni has never lost in the courts, and analysts predict the panel of nine judges is not likely to rule against him.
Wine’s U.S.-based attorney, Bruce Afran, said on Thursday that he had compiled a report with evidence of the widespread irregularities that Wine has alleged were perpetrated in favor of Museveni. The report has been shared with members of the international community, he said.
One piece of the evidence of alleged electoral fraud, he said, is Museveni’s 100% victories at multiple polling stations in his strongholds.
Wine said his legal team possesses evidence from 20,000 of the East African country’s 34,000…