Ugandan authorities have controversially suspended the National Unity Platform party’s campaign tour across the country, which has sparked some debate.
Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, has been drawing massive crowds and traversing major regions since 28 August.
However, the Ugandan government has now accused NUP’s tour of inciting violence, with many speculating that this move is a result of Wine’s status as President Yoweri Museveni’s opposition.
President Museveni, who has been in power for over 30 years, has made amendments to the Ugandan constitution twice to extend his rule. Consequently, he remains the only leader many Ugandans have ever known. Wine, on the other hand, emerged as a strong challenger to Museveni during the 2021 election. His growing popularity and influence have posed a significant threat to Museveni’s grip on power.
This is not the first time that the Ugandan authorities, under Museveni’s command, have impeded Wine’s campaign efforts. In August 2018, during the election season, Wine’s driver was shot dead, and Wine himself was arrested on charges of inciting violence. Then, in November 2020, shortly after registering his candidacy to challenge Museveni, Wine was once again arrested, beaten, and subjected to torture by the police.
Now, the Ugandan police have announced the suspension of Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform’s campaign tour activities nationwide.
The police claim that the NUP mobilisation activities have caused disturbances to public order, unnecessary traffic congestion, loss of business, and intentional damage to property in all the areas where they have been carried out.
Despite recent challenges, Bobi Wine remains committed to continuing his mobilisation efforts, regardless of any attempts by the police or other authorities to impede our progress. We believe that the people of Uganda and the world deserve to know that our campaign is ongoing and that we remain dedicated to promoting positive change in our country.
It is worth noting that the recent election results showed President Museveni winning with a significant majority, while Bobi Wine secured a smaller percentage of the vote. While it is unclear whether President Museveni plans to run for another term in the future, his son’s announcement earlier this year has sparked some speculation.
Despite the ban on our campaign activities, we are pleased to announce that we will be launching phase two of our tour soon. Our campaign is not about to stop, and we remain committed to engaging with the people of Uganda and promoting our message of change.
We understand that some may view our efforts as a threat, but we believe that the people of Uganda are speaking with one voice and demanding change. We remain committed to working towards a brighter future for all Ugandans.
This move has sparked outrage and condemnation from many within Uganda and the international community. Critics argue that the suspension of Wine’s campaign tour is a clear attempt by the government to stifle opposition and maintain Museveni’s grip on power. They assert that the government’s claim of violence incitement is nothing but a pretext to suppress dissent and silence a formidable challenger.
Supporters of Bobi Wine view him as a symbol of hope and change in a country where political power has been concentrated in the hands of one man for far too long. Wine’s ability to mobilise massive crowds, particularly among the younger generation, signifies a growing discontent with the current regime and a desire for a more inclusive and democratic political landscape.
In response to the suspension, Bobi Wine and his supporters have vowed to continue their campaign through alternative means, such as social media and grassroots mobilisation. They refuse to be deterred by the government’s attempts to suppress their message and undermine their movement.