UGANDA HC ORDERS END TO BOBI WINE HOUSE ARREST4 min read

By Yashori Shekhar

Uganda high court directs KAMPALA – Security forces to put an end to the de facto house arrest of opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, best known as Bobi Wine, finding it unconstitutional and a breach of his freedom. Uganda’s high court ruled that the security presence at the home of party leader Bobi Wine of the National Unity Forum after January 14 was unconstitutional.

The decision, which claimed that the imprisonment of Wine and his family was a breach of their privileges, was read by Deputy Court Registrar Jameson Karemani. It was established that there was a breach of his right to personal liberty. Having concluded that the limitations placed on the claimant are unconstitutional, I hereby require that the restrictions be removed. Consequently, order for the restitution of the applicant’s personal liberty is hereby given,’ Karemani stated.

The Uganda State prosecutors also claimed that Wine’s wife Barbara Itungo’s travel was not restricted, which the court considered to be untrue. The state also claimed that security forces were at Wine’s home for his own safety, a point rejected as a deceptive trick by Wine’s supporters. Speaking by phone to James Butty of VOA, Wine said he and his family were running out of stuff to eat. “The last time that my legal team was able to access me, they brought in some food and we’ve been surviving using that food. But now, we’ve run out of food. But the military and the police will not hear of it,” he added.

Wine asked for his de facto house arrest to be revoked. “We are governed by the law. If I am doing anything illegal, I should be arrested and charged. And if not, I should be free,” he said. Yoweri Museveni won the presidential election through deceit, the Uganda opposition leader has claimed again. “It was fake; it was not real. It was not anywhere related to what actually the people of Uganda said through their vote on the 14th of January. We defeated General Museveni resoundingly, and we have evidence to that.”

The Uganda court ruled that he should be produced before the court if there is a lawsuit against Wine. Wine’s attorneys, headed by George Musisi, applauded the judgment and stated they intended to cooperate with the state. “We are pleased that the Uganda court has emphasized constitutional freedoms by saying that the restrictions on personal freedom are so important that they should be taken to court and charged if you are to restrain someone is freedom, particularly if you are saying that you have serious allegations against them as they claim,” he said.

Army spokesman Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso said security forces will accept the ruling of the Uganda court, but said they could not instantly withdraw. “That is something we are all going to have to wait for and that is going to depend on how the security chiefs decide to do the withdrawal process. To really call on the other side, you really need to keep the law. We really need to do less of those things.”

The Electoral Commission of Uganda said it was reviewing images circulated on social media showing citizens falsely ticking votes and stuffing ballot boxes. The U.S. State Department refused to congratulate Museveni and reiterated that it remained worried regarding allegations of electoral fraud and arrests influenced by politics. Museveni named Uganda’s fairest vote ever.

Instead, military and police deployments were reinforced and checkpoints on the road to his house in Uganda were also raised from two to four when the Daily Monitor went to Magere at about 9:30 a.m. At 2 p.m. when the Daily Monitor left the city, there were four roadblocks on the Magere road off Gayaza-Kampala road staffed by police and the army. At the second roadblock, two vehicles carrying journalists were prevented

Mr. Kyagulanyi told the Daily Monitor by mobile, hours after the Uganda court asked the security forces to withdraw, that his home was still under strong deployment. “The situation is still the same at my place and the police have not left. We know they are still waiting for the order from ‘above’ as they have always waited for Museveni to tell them,” he said. Police spokesman Fred Enanga said after the court ruling that they will comply with the orders and vacate the home of Mr. Kyagulanyi.