CAIRO – Every day as Bobby Vine embarks on a campaign trail in his bid to provoke the Ugandan authoritarian president, Yovari Museveni, his 5-year-old daughter, Subi Nakayi, promises him: he will return home.
The 38-year-old pop star-turned-politician said, “And I always make that promise, don’t know if I’ll fulfill it.”
Vine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has been arrested several times, and has taken to wearing a bulletproof vest at his last campaign rallies before the election on Thursday.
Vine said on Twitter that His house was raided on Tuesday And several members of his security team were arrested. Kampala police spokesman Patrick Onyango denied that no arrests had been made, telling Reuters: “We were just rearranging their security posture in the area near their home, especially some outposts. Were removed. ” Facebook and social media sites were taken offline in Uganda on Wednesday. Twitter, according to the independent Internet freedom monitoring group Netblock.
Dozens of liquor supporters have been killed by Ugandan security forces, and more violence is expected, human rights groups and opposition activists say. While it has confirmed several injuries and deaths in several demonstrations, the Ugandan police force did not respond to questions about Vine’s allegations that security forces were responsible for some of the deaths.
Wine, who was raised as one of 34 siblings in a Kamala slum before socially conscious songs raised her to fame as one of East Africa’s most popular singers, gave Museveni Determined to challenge, which stands on a stage of security and economic development.
Museveni, who has consistently enjoyed the support of the US administration as a stabilizing force in East Africa, has been in power since 1986. He is part of an old cycle of liberation fighters who overpowered the notorious dictator Idi Amin.
One of the youngest countries in the world, the 76-year-old Museveni – the average age is just 16, and 80 percent of the population is under 35.
Vine has positioned himself as the champion of young people who, like him, cannot remember life under any leader other than Museveni.
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“He is facing a whole generation, both angry and hungry,” said Liquor, speaking via video link to Kampala. “These same youth want to see better. They believe that they are the first world minds stuck in a third world country. And we also know that our country is only being called ‘Third World’ because we have third World leader. “
There is no credible turnout in Uganda, so support for the wines can only be gauged by the huge crowds who swarm their convoys at campaign stops. He addresses them to stand through the sunroof of his car, a fist pumped into the air, with the same bravado he once brought to his concert. Sometimes he breaks into one of his most famous songs:
Question: What was the purpose of liberation?
When we can’t have a peaceful transition?
What is the purpose of the constitution?
When the government disrespects the constitution?
Unabated days are rare on the campaign trail. Last week, Vine was trying to organize a digital news conference for an international audience with his car parked on the side of the road. As reporters watched on a livestream, Ugandan security forces pulled him from the vehicle. “As you can see, I am being arrested,” he said calmly. He was released after a few minutes he told the news conference that he had been torn down.
Other days are very bad. Wine said One of his bodyguards was killed in late December after being driven by a military truck. A spokesman for the Uganda People’s Defense Force Claim denied, The bodyguard died after falling from a moving vehicle.
In November, liquor was banned for several days and there were clashes between his supporters and police. Officials said 28 people were killed and 577 others were arrested.
The government did not respond to a request for comment. Authorities have previously denied harassing Vine, and have accused him of violating coronovirus restrictions and rioting in his campaign.
“The government’s enormous efforts to reduce any potential for a free and fair election are evident,” Maria E., a senior associate in the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Said Burnett, a bipartisan think tank in Washington. “In these last few months a system designed to inflame voters has been laid bare which is a fear of having different views from the government.”
Despite allegations of human rights abuses, Uganda receives over $ 970 million per year in US support, including more than $ 100 million in military aid from the Department of Defense.
“I really believe that Western countries have hoodwinked by General Museveni, who presents himself in a suit, but in reality he is a dictator in a suit,” Vine said.
Vine has called for the US to bring sanctions under the Magnevsky Act, which targets human rights violators. He also urges the Biden administration to respect the condition of payment of aid for the rule of law.
When officials recently arrested Biden’s pick for Uganda’s top human rights lawyer, Nicholas Opio, Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor, Tweeted His concern about “what he called the suppression and protest of civil society” before the election of Uganda.
Vine said he did not expect the Electoral Commission – even if controlled by his colleagues – to lose. Liquor has asked his supporters to prepare for a large-scale but peaceful demonstration.
“We know he can’t kill all of us. We know he can kill some people. We know that he can put some people in jail. But these jails are enough to accommodate all of us. Are not. ” “This is going to be just one phase in a major liberation struggle.”