3 die in protests in Uganda’s capital as opposition politician is arrested

Security forces remove the remains of a burning makeshift roadblock in downtown Kampala on Wednesday.
Security forces remove the remains of a burning makeshift roadblock set up by supporters of opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine in downtown Kampala on Wednesday.
(Associated Press)

Police in Uganda said three people died and 38 were injured in protests that broke out Wednesday in Uganda’s capital after police arrested Bobi Wine, a musician and opposition politician who is seeking the presidency in next year’s election.

Wine’s supporters blocked roads and burned tires in Kampala, prompting police to fire tear gas and bullets to disperse the protesters, after Wine was arrested in the eastern town of Luuka and taken to a police station in the city of Jinja.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga said Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was arrested on suspicion of violating COVID-19 guidelines that require presidential candidates to meet or address fewer than 200 people at a time.

“We have not been allowed to see him and we don’t know what is happening,” asserted Joel Ssenyonyi, the spokesman for Wine’s political party, the National Unity Platform.


Meanwhile it was “total chaos” in the capital, said the chairman of the Kampala City Traders Assn., Evarest Kayongo. “The streets are empty. ... We have closed business because of tear gas and bullets,” he said.

Wine, who has been arrested many times in recent years, has captured the imagination of many Ugandans with his persistent calls for President Yoweri Museveni to retire after 36 years in power.