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Ugandan police ban Bobi Wine’s opposition rallies

Ugandan police ban Bobi Wine’s opposition rallies
FILE - In this Thursday May 2, 2019 file photo, Ugandan pop star and opposition figure Bobi   -  
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Ronald Kabuubi/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.


The Ugandan police announced on Wednesday that they were suspending "until further notice" a nationwide mobilisation campaign launched by the main opposition party, led by Bobi Wine, because of public order problems.

The authorities had authorised this operation, launched on 2 September by the National Unity Platform (NUP), an unprecedented decision in a country ruled with an iron fist since 1986 by President Yoweri Museveni and where the opposition is tightly controlled.

Bobi Wine told AFP that he intended to continue this campaign, which has given rise to rallies across the country, most recently in Arua (north-west) on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Ugandan police said they had "noticed that in all the areas where the NUP mobilisation activities have been carried out, there have been (...) disturbances to public order, unnecessary traffic jams, loss of business, ill-intentioned damage to property".

In particular, it refers to road accidents, including a fatal one in the western town of Hoima, and a rally in the centre of the country that "was used to incite violence, promote sectarianism, launch illegitimate calls for the removal of an elected government and publish defamatory statements against the President of the Republic".

In the face of these "flagrant violations", "the (mobilisation) activities of the NUP are immediately suspended", said the police, adding that they had notified the party leadership of their decision on Tuesday.

In a statement to AFP, Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said he had expected this decision from the authorities."Let Ugandans and the world know that we are continuing our mobilisation, regardless of what Museveni, using the police, may do to put an end to our popularity", he added.Uganda holds its presidential election in 2026.Yoweri Museveni, 78, has not announced his intentions for the election.

His son Muhoozi Kainerugaba announced his intention to run in March, in a tweet that he later deleted. Since then, he has launched his "MK movement", whose members are keen to see him become "the next president".

A former singer, Bobi Wine was President Museveni's main rival in the 2021 presidential election. The head of state was re-elected for a sixth term with 58% of the vote, according to the official results, ahead of Bobi Wine (35%), who denounced a "farce".

Bobi Wine has been arrested several times in recent years and his supporters' rallies have been regularly dispersed, sometimes violently.

During the election campaign, demonstrations against yet another arrest of Mr Wine were violently repressed by the security forces, leaving at least 54 people dead.

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