from HASSAN ONYANGO in Kampala, Uganda
KAMPALA, (CAJ News) – A CRACKDOWN ahead of elections set for January have left no less than 45 people dead in Uganda.
The skirmishes have worsened since November 18 when police arrested opposition candidates Bobi Wine (the musician also known as Robert Kyagulanyi) and Patrick Oboi Amuriat for allegedly organising mass rallies that flouted coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.
More than 800 people have been arrested.
Security forces reportedly used tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannon and live ammunition.
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, António Guterres, appealed to Ugandan authorities to uphold human rights principles and refrain from using violence.
“He (Guterres) called on the authorities to ensure that all perpetrators of human rights violations were held accountable,” a spokesperson said.
Wine is considered the main challenger to President Yoweri Museveni, who has held power since 1986 and is seeking a sixth term in office.
Critics accuse Museveni of vote rigging and crackdowns on opponents to retain power.
Wine has been arrested several times since launching his political career in 2017 and has allegedly been severely beaten while detained.
Last week’s arrest was his second this month on charges of “negligent conduct likely to spread an infectious disease, obstruction, incitement to violence and unauthorised assemblies.”
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Uganda, the authorities imposed harsh measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, including the closure of public court hearings and strict nighttime curfews.
Uganda has confirmed around 19 000 COVID-19 cases, including 191 deaths.
– CAJ News