Uganda’s security forces on Wednesday detained presidential election candidate Bobi Wine during a raid of the campaign headquarters of his party in Kampala, as tensions rise in the east African country months ahead of January elections, reported Aljazeera.
The pop star-turned-politician, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has previously been arrested numerous times as he gave strong challenge to the governing party of President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986.
Critics accuse the Ugandan president of relying on the armed forces to stay in power. He is now eligible to seek another term after the legislature voted to remove constitutional age limits on the presidency.
Wine has accused President Museveni of trying to block his candidacy for the upcoming elections through a series of legal challenges.
According to Anthony Wameli, Bobi’s lawyer, his client was arrested at the Kampala offices of the National Unity Platform (NUP) on Wednesday.
“The police and the army raided the office of NUP, sealed off the premises and all the roads leading to the place before detaining Bobi Wine and other party officials,” Wameli told the AFP news agency. “This is despicable and an attack on democracy by the partisan police and the army.
He said the reason for the raid was unknown but a political angle cannot be ruled out.
One of Wine’s party official David Lewis Rubongoya, who was at the scene, said the security officers confiscated items such as security cameras and supplies of red berets that are symbols of Wine’s popular campaign.
“They have taken away everything,” Rubongoya said.
Notably, all candidates vying for the upcoming election will have to present their credentials and nomination fees to the Electoral Commission of Uganda starting Thursday.
It currently remains unclear how the National Unity Platform candidates will submit their forms if police have their documents.
Uganda is set to hold elections early next year to elect new legislators and the next president.