Popular singer and opposition leader says he was ‘tortured’ after he was certified as a candidate in polls.
A music producer for Ugandan singer and presidential candidate Bobi Wine has been wounded in the mouth by a rubber bullet during clashes between security personnel and the politician’s supporters, according to a spokesman for his party.
The incident on Tuesday is the latest in escalating violence in Uganda as authorities crack down on supporters of 38-year-old Bobi Wine, who is seeking to end the decades-long rule of 76-year-old President Yoweri Museveni in an election scheduled for January 14.
Joel Senyonyi, spokesman for Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP) party, said Daniel Oyerwot was hit by the rubber bullet as he sat with the party leader in a car that was part of a convoy.
Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, and his supporters were heading to a campaign venue in Kayunga district, about 65km (40 miles) north of the capital, Kampala.
“He was shot with a rubber bullet, he has lost some teeth and his mouth is torn,” Senyonyi said.
Footage aired on Ghetto TV, an online broadcaster affiliated with NUP, showed Bobi Wine in a hospital holding Oyerwot’s hand as he lay on a bed, with a blood-stained bandage covering part of his mouth.
Wine said on Twitter that several members of his staff had been wounded and that some were in a critical condition.
The singer also said he and his supporters had attempted to move to another campaign venue, located in Jinja in eastern Uganda, but security personnel blocked him and shot and blew out his car’s tyres.
Another bullet shattered his car’s windscreen, punching a hole in it, Wine added.
Our lives are in danger! After blocking us in Kayunga, on the way to Jinja, they blocked the main road & diverted us to a remote road. As if to set us into a ‘kill spot’, they shot the tyres of my car and directly into our windscreen, narrowly missing Hon Zaake and my driver. pic.twitter.com/Y2dnHA1LyE
— BOBI WINE (@HEBobiwine) December 1, 2020
Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said in a statement NUP supporters had attacked security personnel and disrupted traffic and that three people, including Oyerwot, had been injured by “tear gas fragments” as police and the military dispersed them.
Last month, a total of 54 people were killed, Museveni said on Sunday, as police and military battled to quell riots in multiple cities that erupted after Wine was arrested for alleged violation of anti-coronavirus rules.
Museveni, who has been in power since 1986 and had the constitution amended twice to allow him to run a sixth time in 2021, is seeking another five-year term in the January polls.
Since expressing his intention to run in the election against Museveni, Wine has been arrested multiple times.
His large following has rattled the governing National Resistance Movement party, and security forces have frequently fired tear gas at his rallies and detained and beaten his supporters, according to witnesses.
Many young supporters say they are drawn to Wine by his criticism of Museveni’s government mingled in his lyrics. Others say as a young leader, he is better positioned to tackle the challenges they face.