Bobi Wine charged for breaking coronavirus rules

In Summary

• Protests broke out and 37 people died in clashes when the politician, also a pop star, was arrested this week.

• The musician, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, is among 11 candidates challenging President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.

Ugandan MP and singer Bobi Wine appeared in court this week
Ugandan MP and singer Bobi Wine appeared in court this week
Image: REUTERS

Ugandan presidential candidate Bobi Wine has been released on bail after being charged with spreading coronavirus.

The court ruled on Friday after Wine, 38, held a large rally this week.

Human rights groups say the virus charge is a pretext to suppress political opposition ahead of the 14 January election.

 

Protests broke out and 37 people died in clashes when the politician, also a pop star, was arrested this week.

The musician, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, is among 11 candidates challenging President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.

Human Rights Watch says it is clear that the Ugandan authorities are using Covid-19 guidelines to repress opposition and that the governing party has held large campaign events.

In June Bobi Wine vowed to defy a ban on holding campaign rallies during the pandemic. He accused President Museveni of "fearing the people", suggesting the prohibition was motivated by politics.

Uganda government spokesman Don Wanyama told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that security officers could not "just fold their arms and allow anarchy to happen".

He also said President Museveni had "stuck by the rules that were issued by the electoral commission and the ministry of health".

While Security Minister Elly Tumwine told journalists: "Police have a right to shoot you and kill you if you reach a certain level of violence."