KAMPALA, UGANDA - Presidential candidate Bobi Wine filed a complaint with Uganda's election commission after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets Tuesday at his supporters, sending at least five to the hospital.
In a three-hour closed-door meeting Wednesday with the commission, Wine, a singer-turned-politician whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said he had to briefly halt his campaign because of police attacks on him and his supporters.
The meeting was held under heavy security, with police and military personnel surrounding the commission offices.
Wine said he went to the Electoral Commission because it had been silent since police arrested him last month, just after he entered the presidential race.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Wine shared photos of what he said were police and soldiers brutalizing his supporters.
“These are the people that are being shot dead by the police and the military and some goons, that move around with guns but in plain clothes," he said. "These are the scenes of our campaign meetings marred with violence, tear gas and live bullets.”
Wine said he made several requests to the Electoral Commission.
"We wanted to tell the Electoral Commission that the police and the military are trying to kill us," he said. "We have tasked them to take charge or resign. We’ve asked them to prevail over the police and the military — to tell them to keep out of this election, especially the military. We have asked them to ask the police to stop blocking the roads for us.”
Authorities have accused Wine and his party of violating COVID-19 restrictions with large gatherings.
Electoral Commission Chairman Simon Byabakama said Wednesday that every candidate must commit to complying with and abiding by the measures put in place by the commission to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Regarding the violence, Byabakama said, “We have also committed to ensuring that the heightened environment is mitigated. And one of those ways is for both parties to take responsibility. Therefore, I do not see why security will have to come in with a strong hand in order to enforce these guidelines when the people are compliant.”
Wine is scheduled to resume his campaign Thursday in eastern Uganda. He is one of 10 candidates challenging longtime President Yoweri Museveni in the January 14 election.