The U.S. ambassador in Uganda was stopped by security personnel from visiting opposition leader Bobi Wine at his residence, prompting the mission to call his house arrest a “worrying” sign.
Shortly after casting his ballot on Thursday in the country’s presidential elections, Opposition leader Bobi Wine was placed under house arrest.
The incumbent president Yoweri Museveni, 76, who has been ruling the country since 1986 when Bobi Wine was only four years old, was declared winner of the election with 59% of the vote against Bobi Wine’s 35%.
The U.S. embassy said in a statement on Monday, that the U.S. ambassador Natalie E. Brown was stopped from visiting Kyagulanyi at his residence in a suburb in the northern outskirts of the capital Kampala.
The mission said the U.S. ambassador wanted to check on Wine’s “health and safety.”
The embassy noted that the just concluded election was tainted by harassment of opposition candidates, suppression of media and rights advocates as well as nationwide internet shutdown.
“These unlawful actions and the effective house arrest of a presidential candidate continue a worrying trend on the course of Uganda’s democracy,” it said.
No observers were deployed for the polls from both the United States and the European Union due to denial of accreditations and failure by Ugandan authorities to implement recommendations by past missions.
During the campaigning security forces routinely broke up Wine’s rallies with teargas, bullets, beatings and detentions, citing violations of laws meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus for those actions.
After Wine was detained for alleged violation of the anti-coronavirus measures in November, 54 people were killed as security forces quelled a protest that erupted.
Opposition leader Bobi Wine and his National Unity Platform (NUP) have rejected the results of the election, saying they were planning a court challenge.
Ugandan security forces on Monday cordoned off offices of opposition party’s in the capital Kampala. The party said the move is complicating their efforts to gather evidence of irregularities committed during the election.