KAMPALA – Ugandan singer and opposition politician Bobi Wine said on Monday he faces “a pattern of repression and suppression” seeking to derail his bid to challenge the country's long-time president in elections next year.
A Ugandan attorney claims that Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, lied about his age and academic record in papers he filed with the electoral commission. The attorney asked electoral officials to publish Wine's papers for public scrutiny.
Wine, 38, insisted he filed correct information on his age and education in the papers. He said he faces a number of accusations, including tax evasion and even an ownership dispute over the property where he lives with his wife and young children outside the capital, Kampala.
“Fighting a dictator is no simple task," said Wine. "You lose friends. You are stabbed in the back. You are persecuted. You are prosecuted. You are slandered. You are maligned. You’re embarrassed. You are threatened.”
Wine is the leader of a political pressure group known as People Power, which has captured the imagination of many Ugandans with its calls for President Yoweri Museveni to retire. Museveni, 75, has ruled Uganda since taking power by force in 1986. Wine is urging a united opposition against Museveni.
Museveni is accused by his critics of relying on the armed forces to stay in power. He is able to seek another term after the legislature voted to remove constitutional age limits on the presidency.
Earlier this month veteran opposition leader Kizza Besigye announced that he won't run against Museveni for a fifth time, leaving Wine as the strongest challenger to Museveni. Wine has been arrested or detained many times, including over a treason charge that he denies. With political rallies now banned as part of efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus, presidential aspirants are not able to hold rallies.
Museveni accuses Wine and other opposition figures of encouraging young people into rioting. People associated with Wine are “a misguided group being used by some foreigners to destabilize Uganda,” the president said last week.