Bobi Wine, Uganda’s main opposition leader, has been under house arrest for more than a week following the contentious re-election on Jan. 14 of incumbent president Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled the country for 35 years.
Security forces surrounded and sieged Wine’s house on Friday Jan. 15, as Uganda’s electoral commission released partial results that showed 76-year-old Museveni in the lead. Museveni was later declared the winner for a record sixth term with almost 59% of the total votes.
Wine, a 38-year-old musician turned politician, had posed the “most potent” challenge to Museveni in years, the New York Times reported. He has disputed the results and said that the election was unfair, an allegation backed by independent international observers, according to the Times.
He was arrested by security forces several times, including on the day he filed for his candidacy in November, charged with violating COVID-19 guidelines. His arrest and the arrest of other opposition figures set off nationwide protests that left more than 50 people dead and hundreds arrested, as security forces dispersed the demonstrations, according to the New York Times. It was Uganda’s worst unrest in a decade, the Guardian reported.
In January, just days before the election, Wine was dragged out of his car while speaking at an online news conference. He filed a petition at the International Criminal Court, urging it to investigate human rights violations that had allegedly occurred in the run-up to the election.
The government instituted an internet shutdown just days before the election. Wine and his wife Barbara are still under house arrest as of Saturday Jan. 23. He told CNN that Ugandan High Court judges would be visiting them on Monday and that his wife’s 18-month-old niece who was in their house with them when security forces took over has since been safely evacuated.
The European Union, other countries and human rights organizations have called for an investigation into the alleged violence and abuse in the lead up to the election.
Sissi Yi Hu contributed to this article.