‘We are under siege’: Ugandan opposition candidate Bobi Wine says military has taken over his home as election count continues

‘We are under siege’: Ugandan opposition candidate Bobi Wine says military has taken over his home as election count continues

Uganda’s main challenger to the presidency, Bobi Wine, has claimed that the country’s military has besieged his home, as votes are still being counted from Thursday’s poll in an election already marred by controversy.

“We are under siege. The military has jumped over the fence and has now taken control of our home,” Bobi Wine, the popstar-turned-presidential candidate wrote on Twitter on Friday. 

On Thursday, Ugandans took to the poll in what was billed to be one of the most hotly contested elections in living memory.

The electoral commission said earlier on Friday that President Yoweri Museveni, who is seeking a sixth term, was leading with votes counted for 29 percent of polling stations. The commission reported that Museveni has so far received 63 percent of the ballots, while Wine only had 28 percent.

Wine has rejected the commission’s ongoing count, labelling it a “joke” and declaring himself President-elect. 

“We secured a comfortable victory,” Wine told reporters in Kampala. “The people of Uganda voted massively for change of leadership from a dictatorship to a democratic government. But Mr. Museveni is trying to paint a picture that he is in the lead. What a joke!” he added. 

The government denied allegations of rigging. “This is what we expected before. Even before we went into polling, he said the election will be rigged,” Ofwono Opondo, government spokesman, told Al Jazeera. 

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Elections billboards for Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, and opposition leader and presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, are seen on a street in Kampala, Uganda January 12, 2021 © REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Uganda orders all social media to be blocked as hotly contested election looms – letter

The election, which has not been observed by US or EU officials, has been marred by controversy.

In November, protests broke out around the country after Wine was arrested on the campaign trail. At least 45 people died in the ensuing unrest, as security forces clashed with demonstrators. 

On Tuesday, the government ordered all social media to be blocked across the country, although many people retained access through VPN services. The internet has reportedly subsequently been cut off around the country, mirroring similar disruptions before the 2016 election. 

On Monday, Facebook shut a slew of accounts belonging to Ugandan government officials, saying that the pages were being used to manipulate public debate ahead of elections.

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