Judge orders Uganda’s Bobi Wine freed from house arrest

KAMPALA, UGANDA (AP) — A judge ruled yesterday that Ugandan security forces cannot detain presidential challenger Bobi Wine inside his home, rebuking authorities for holding the candidate under house arrest following a disputed election.

Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has been unable to leave his home since January 14, when Ugandans voted in an election in which the singer-turned-politician was the main challenger to President Yoweri Museveni. Ugandan authorities have said Wine can only leave his home on the outskirts of the capital, Kampala, under military escort because they fear his presence in public could incite rioting.

But the judge said in his ruling that Wine’s home is not a proper detention facility and noted that authorities should criminally charge him if he threatens public order.

Wine’s associates welcomed the courtroom victory, but it remains to be seen if authorities will respect the judge’s order in this East African country where similar orders have been ignored in many cases.

Museveni won the election with 58 per cent of the vote while Wine had 34 per cent, according to official results. Wine insists he won and has said he can prove that the military was stuffing ballot boxes, casting ballots for people and chasing voters away from polling stations.