Bobi Wine, the Ugandan singer and presidential candidate, suspended his campaign on Tuesday after members of his campaign team were injured and his car shot at during clashes between security personnel and his supporters.
The developments were the latest in escalating violence in Uganda as authorities crack down on supporters of 38-year-old Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi.
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“With effect from today, I am suspending my campaign until further notice,” he told a news conference in a village near the capital Kampala on Wednesday.
“We are going to the electoral commission headquarters to inquire why we are being tortured by security institutions… our campaign is affected by police brutality.”
Bobi Wine is seeking to end the decades-long rule of 76-year-old President Yoweri Museveni in an election scheduled for January 14.
Earlier on Tuesday, Daniel Oyerwot, a music producer for Bobi Wine, was wounded in the mouth by a rubber bullet during the clashes, according to a spokesman for his party.
The singer said on Twitter that several members other of his staff were wounded and some were in critical condition.
He added that he and his supporters 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.
Last month, 54 people were killed, President Museveni said on Sunday, as police and military battled to quell riots in multiple cities that erupted after Bobi 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, Bobi 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 Bobi Wine by the criticism of Museveni’s government he has in his lyrics. Others say that as a young leader, he is better positioned to tackle the challenges they face.