Pop star Bobi Wine seeks to unseat five-term president in landmark Ugandan election


Bobi Wine parades by crowds of individuals in Kayunga District on December 01, 2020 in Jinja, Uganda. Presidential candidates are campaigning in Uganda forward of the elections scheduled for the 14 January 2021.

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Ugandans head to the polls on Thursday as singer-turned-lawmaker Bobi Wine appears to be like to disclaim incumbent President Yoweri Museveni a sixth time period.

On Tuesday, Wine, whose actual identify is Robert Kyagulanyi, claimed on Twitter that the military had raided his residence and arrested his safety guards. The occasion marked the newest in a sequence of arrests and violent assaults on Wine himself in addition to his supporters, journalists and election officers in latest months.

“Such acts of impunity are all kicks of a dying horse,” the 38-year-old stated, earlier than imploring Museveni to elucidate the arrests of his marketing campaign group, assistants and supporters.

He additionally posted a video purporting to point out a marketing campaign surrogate being arrested in a lodge, alleging that the navy had killed one other supporter and that personal safety had been ordered to withdraw from his residence. CNBC has contacted the Authorities of Uganda for remark however has but to obtain a response.

In November, 54 individuals have been killed over two days of anti-government protests, drawing worldwide condemnation and scrutiny on Museveni’s Nationwide Resistance Motion authorities to make sure a free and honest election. Greater than 18 million Ugandans have registered to vote, in keeping with the Uganda electoral fee.

In December, Wine’s automobile was struck by a bullet at a police and navy checkpoint, which authorities claimed was erected to implement Covid-19 containment measures.

Bobi Wine takes an injured supporter right into a medical middle on December 01, 2020 in Jinja, Uganda.

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Wine, recognized to supporters because the “ghetto president” having made his identify in casual settlements across the capital, Kampala, and his Nationwide Unity Platform social gathering are working on a grassroots platform centered on bettering public entry to schooling, justice, well being care and clear water.

He has branded Museveni a “dictator” and blamed authorities corruption for stifling the nation’s youth, having gained a considerable following by a music profession which regularly centered on the social points confronted by poorer Ugandans. His music, which he has described as “edutainment,” blends reggae and Afrobeat genres.

Museveni is Africa’s third-longest serving head of state, having seized energy because the insurgent chief of the Nationwide Resistance Military in 1986. A lifelong opponent of earlier dictatorial regimes, Museveni was concerned within the insurgent actions that toppled each Idi Amin and Milton Obote previous to ascending to energy himself.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni delivers his state of the nation handle in Kampala, Uganda, on June 6, 2018.

Nicholas Bamulanzeki | AFP | Getty Pictures

Now 76 years outdated, he’s looking for a sixth presidential time period, with critics alleging that the fusion of social gathering and state energy throughout his tenure has rendered any sensible electoral problem nigh on unattainable over the previous 35 years.

Uganda has by no means seen a peaceable transition of energy. In a tweet on Monday, Museveni urged NRM supporters to get out and vote.

“We will put to disgrace all those that are sad with Uganda’s progress and due to this fact assume they’ll use this election to set us again,” he added.

Museveni’s early years have been accompanied by an financial growth and emergence from the oppressive shadows of the likes of Amin and Obote. However regardless of working this marketing campaign underneath the slogan “securing your future,” financial alternatives are more and more scarce for Uganda’s ever-younger and extra educated inhabitants.

In accordance with the World Financial institution, solely 75,000 new jobs are created yearly for the 700,000 younger people who attain working age.

In latest interviews, Museveni has lashed out at Wine as being supported by “foreigners” and “homosexuals.”

Posters of the 2 hottest candidates for Uganda’s Presidential election, incumbent President Yoweri Museveni (yellow) and Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, the pop star-turned-opposition chief, are seen alongside a avenue in Kampala, Uganda, on January 6, 2021.

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On Monday, Fb introduced that it had shut down a community of government-linked pretend and duplicate social media accounts supposed to spice up the recognition of sure content material.

The next day, allegations surfaced that the federal government had ordered web service suppliers to dam social media platforms, messaging apps and choose content material within the run-up to the election. Tibor Nagy, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, tweeted late on Tuesday that these restrictions “undermine human rights and basic freedoms.”

Although Wine’s marketing campaign has garnered a fervent youth following, international consideration and a robust social media presence, Museveni’s reputation stays intact throughout giant swathes of the nation and amongst older and rural voters, Pangea-Danger CEO Robert Besseling advised CNBC on Tuesday.

“In September 2020, the NRM management was reshuffled to incorporate youthful leaders and earlier final 12 months the NRM ruling social gathering overwhelmingly received elections for representatives of particular curiosity teams, such because the youth, at village degree,” Besseling stated.

“These native elections have been a convincing affirmation of the NRM’s nationwide grassroots electoral infrastructure, which the opposition lacks.”

He added that the prospect of a harsh safety response concentrating on the opposition, state patronage, guarantees of oil wealth, and Museveni’s personal robust help base in rural areas will “nearly actually see him re-elected.”