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Ugandan Opposition Leader Bobi Wine Freed From De Facto House Arrest

By Halima Athumani January 26, 2021

Ugandan security forces have ended their de facto house arrest of opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine.

Soon after the departure of a joint security force that had blocked access to his home for twelve days, Bobi Wine received visitors Tuesday.

They included 61 of the newly-elected legislators under the National Unity Platform that he heads.

The police and soldiers withdrew earlier in the day, in line with a court order that said authorities should either charge Wine with a crime or let him go free.

Wine says his de facto house arrest served to expose the regime that is presiding over Ugandans.

"Where you are seated right now, there were tents of soldiers. They jumped over the fence and took over our compound. They could not allow my wife to access our garden. I will not talk so much about the stress and experience. All I can say is that we are here, Wine said, interrupted by applause. "And we are not giving up. All the stress only made us strong and proved to us that [President Yoweri] Museveni is so scared of us."

VOA reached out to the Ugandan police and government for comment on Wine's remarks but received no response.

Official election results showed longtime President Yoweri Museveni winning 58% of the vote in last week's election. His National Resistance Movement won an overwhelming majority in parliament in the poll.

But Wine has rejected the results as fraudulent and declared himself president-elect.

The NUP says it has evidence of widespread election irregularities. Museveni has rejected the allegation, calling the election "the most cheating-free" in Uganda's post-colonial period.

Wine said Tuesday the party might go to court to challenge the presidential election outcome, but said more action will be needed to remove Museveni, who he considers illegitimate.

"Should we go to court, it should be another front to expose the regime. But most importantly, our energy, our hope and our power is within the people of Uganda. Mr. Museveni should not be president of Uganda. And we encourage the people of Uganda to use all legal and all non-violent means and ideas that they have to free themselves from the Museveni dictatorship," Wine said.

Sendi Ismail, a supporter of Wine who managed to get into the compound, couldn't contain his excitement.

"He says, for me to believe, I had to first get in here. He says, that's when I believed that it's true, our president has been released by those who were holding him at home. What still pains me is that they are still on the way, as you get here," Sendi said.

The police still maintain a roadblock on the way to Wine's home, with military and police patrol vehicles occasionally driving through the area.

As Wine was speaking, a police helicopter was hovering over his house.

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