Uganda: Bobi Wine files arbitrary detention complaint at UN

The opposition leader has been under de facto house arrest by security forces in Kampala since Friday.

Bobi Wine has claimed he won the election [File: Abubaker Lubowa/Reuters]

Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine, who is under de facto house arrest by the military, has filed an arbitrary detention complaint to the United Nations.

“Nigerian human rights lawyer Femi Falana has filed this complaint on my behalf to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest. We are challenging my continued illegal confinement by the Ugandan police and the military,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Bobi Wine’s residence in Kampala has been surrounded by the army since Friday, a day after Uganda conducted presidential elections in which Bobi Wine competed against President Yoweri Museveni.

Longtime president Museveni, 76, was re-elected with almost 59 percent of the vote, followed by 38-year-old Bobi Wine, with roughly 35 percent.

The opposition leader, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said he will legally contest the result of the presidential election, alleging “widespread fraud” during the January 14 polls, seen as Uganda’s first election in which there was a real threat to Museveni’s rule.

Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, has retained power for 35 years. He changed Uganda’s constitution to enable himself to run for yet another five-year term.

The election had been overshadowed by violence since campaigning began, with almost daily violence.

The internet was shut down across the country shortly before the start of voting. It has since returned, though social media remains unavailable.

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch said the lead up to elections were characterised by widespread violence and human rights abuses.

“A democratic playing field for free and fair elections was worryingly absent during these elections,” Oryem Nyeko, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, said.

“Instead of restricting free expression, movement, and assembly, the Ugandan government should take concrete steps to improve respect for human rights for all and remove all remaining restrictions,” Nyeko added.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies