IGANGA — National Unity Platform (NUP) Presidential candidate Bobi Wine has been granted bail Friday after spending several nights under Nalufenya Police detention.
Bobi Wine is facing charges of unlawful assembly and violation of coronavirus containment rules.
Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu pleaded not guilty to the charges during a court appearance in Iganga Magistrate Court.
“I am here to tell Museveni, we are not slaves in our country_Uganda is our country and we shall liberate it,” Bobi Wine said in Court.
“I am not here because I committed a crime. I am here because I offered myself to lead Ugandans into ending 35 years of a dictatorship,” he added.
At least 38 people have been killed in Uganda over two days in the country’s worst unrest in a decade, as security forces try to quell protests triggered by the arrest of Bobi Wine.
Young people burned tyres and blockaded streets in Kampala, on Thursday, and soldiers fanned out across the city with armoured vehicles, a day after the arrest of Bobi Wine, a popular reggae singer who is the leading challenger to President Yoweri Museveni in forthcoming elections.
“This is a war-like situation, so the army has to deploy,” Brig Flavia Byekwaso, a military spokesperson, told Reuters. “You can see what is going on, people are being stoned, people are being killed, vehicles are being vandalised, tyres everywhere. These things are spontaneous on all streets, so police cannot handle such a situation.”
Images posted on social media showed police in Kampala firing indiscriminately at people in buildings overlooking the protests and unidentifiable men in plainclothes, believed to be security personnel, firing automatic weapons. More than 350 people were arrested, police said.
Bobi Wine was detained on Wednesday while campaigning in eastern Uganda after authorities accused the 38-year old of violating anti-coronavirus measures by holding mass rallies.
Bobi Wine has been attracting massive crowds and his campaign has rattled the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Museveni told a rally in Karamoja region that the protesters were “being used by outsiders … homosexuals and others who don’t like the stability and independence of Uganda. But they will discover what they are looking for. We shall not tolerate confused people. They are playing with fire”.