Uganda ends house arrest of opposition leader Bobi Wine

The withdrawal of security forces comes a day after a court termed his confinement since the January 14 election ‘unlawful’.

Bobi Wine, 38, had been besieged at home since voting in the presidential poll [Sumy Sadurni/AFP]

Ugandan troops have withdrawn from around the home of opposition leader and pop star Bobi Wine, ending his house arrest since the January 14 election, won by long-serving President Yoweri Museveni.

The withdrawal of security forces, which the government had said were for Bobi Wine’s protection, complied with a court order on Monday.

The court had termed his confinement to house “unlawful”.

A correspondent of Reuters news agency on the scene confirmed the move, though Bobi Wine was yet to appear by mid-morning at his large compound in a leafy northern suburb of the capital Kampala.

Bobi Wine, 38, had been besieged at home since the voting in the presidential polls where he rode a wave of youth disillusionment to challenge Museveni’s 34-year rule.

The incumbent was declared the winner with 59 percent of votes versus 35 percent for Bobi Wine, who had for years denounced corruption and nepotism in his songs. The opposition rejected the result, alleging fraud which the government denies.

A Reuters correspondent on the scene confirmed the move, though Bobi Wine was yet to appear by mid-morning at his large compound in a leafy northern suburb of the capital Kampala [File: Baz Ratner/Reuters]

Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi, reporting from neighbouring Kenya, said a roadblock, about 600 metres from Bobi Wine’s house, has been removed in line with Monday’s court ruling.

“Bobi Wine’s supporters are definitely quite relieved, as they have been clamouring for security restrictions to be lifted.

“Many of his supporters and election team members arrested in the last few months still remain detained, he hopes they will also be set free,” Soi said.

The Al Jazeera correspondent said Bobi Wine has been holding a meeting with the newly elected members of parliament to discuss the way forward and how these MPs can make a difference in parliament.

With the election behind him and fraud claims by Bobi Wine failing to gain traction, Museveni appears to be calculating that he can mollify pressure from Western allies to free his rival without significant risk to his power base.

Former rebel leader Museveni, 76, has long been a Western ally, receiving copious aid and sending troops to trouble spots including Somalia to fight armed groups.

But foreign governments have become increasingly frustrated at his reluctance to cede power and crackdowns on opponents.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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