A spokesman for Uganda’s main opposition party says government forces raided its headquarters Monday, a day after its leader vowed to challenge his loss in last week’s presidential election.
Joel Ssenyonyi told reporters that police have surrounded the compound of the National Unity Party located in a Kampala suburb and are preventing members from entering the building.
Tensions have been rising in Uganda after the country’s election commission declared President Yoweri Museveni the winner of the 2021 general elections on Saturday over Bobi Wine, a singer-turned-lawmaker whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi.
The commission said Museveni won 58.64% to Wine’s 34.83% of the votes cast in last Thursday's balloting.
Wine told Reuters news agency Monday that his party’s office was raided by the military and said party leaders were now on the run.
Wine and his wife have been prevented from leaving their home for several days, with soldiers surrounding the entrance and barring his colleagues and journalists from entering.
Wine tweeted Monday evening that the U.S. ambassador wanted to see him “but was turned away from my gate by the soldiers who have held me and my wife captive for the past five days.”
There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy.
Wine has said his party will challenge the election results.
An NUP party official said Sunday it had evidence of “ballot stuffing and other forms of election malpractice” and that the party would “take all measures that the law permits to challenge this fraud.”
The incumbent president defended the process Saturday in a national address, saying the vote will turn out to be “the most cheating-free election” in Uganda’s history.
Museveni, 76, has ruled Uganda continuously since seizing power in 1986.
Both the U.S. and Britain expressed concern over the validity of the election results due to the interruption of internet service.
“We urge authorities to address such irregularities and restore communications,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus tweeted Saturday.
On Sunday, Jake Sullivan, who U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen to be his national security adviser, tweeted, “The news from Uganda is deeply concerning. Bobi Wine, other political figures, and their supporters should not be harmed, and those who perpetrate political violence must be held accountable. After this flawed election, the world is watching.”
Nine of Museveni’s Cabinet ministers, including his vice president, did not win their parliamentary races, according to The Associated Press. Some lost to members of Wine’s party.
The U.S. Embassy in Uganda declined to observe the election after authorities denied more than 75% of its accreditation requests. On polling day, more than 30 election observers were arrested.