By Jean Damascène Hakuzimana
Yoweri Museveni has served as president of Uganda for 35 years, but that’s apparently not enough for him, and now Bobi Wine is crying fraud. The election commission announced that Museveni had won a sixth term, with 58.6 % of the vote, compared to 34.8% for Bobi Wine. The jailing of opposition leaders, crackdowns on opposition campaigns, roadblocks in the capital city of Kampala, tires set ablaze, and general chaos – all of these marked election season in Uganda. Despite all these obstacles, Bobi Wine, formerly a singer and now a parliamentarian, garnered a great deal of support, even in a crowd of 10 opposition candidates and an election that saw a low turnout of 57% of the 18 million registered voters. Bobi Wine energized youth, who threw their support behind him in the movement he called “People Power.”
Security forces arrested Bobi Wine and many of his supporters numerous times during the campaign, saying he was violating COVID-19 control rules. He was often obliged to sleep in his car because hotels were forced to cancel his bookings. And security forces swarmed Uganda’s streets to prevent violence after the electoral commission announced Museveni’s victory. Bobi Wine was forced into house arrest, with heavily armed guards surrounding his house. He has been posting social media messages complaining of hunger – he is forbidden to even pick food in his garden. Natalie Brown, the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, was barred by security forces from visiting the singer on January 18, according to CNN. Museveni’s spokesperson Ofwono Opondo published an opinion piece soon after, reminding the U.S. that it is in no position to tell other governments how to conduct themselves in relation to election results. “Don’t cry for Ugandans,” Ofwono Opondo told Brown.