A Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has dragged the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UN-WGAD), for illegally detaining his main opponent in the recently concluded presidential election, Bobi Wine.
Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has raised the alarm consistently over harassment by security agencies since he decided to challenge Museveni in the election.
He was the presidential candidate of the National Unity Platform (NUP) in the January 14 election which Museveni was announced by the country’s electoral body to have won.
According to results released by the electoral body, Museveni polled 5.85 million votes to defeat Bobi Wine who secured 3.48 million.
Bobi Wine, however, rejected the election results, saying he had evidence of widespread voting fraud.
Bobi Wine and his family have been put under house arrest by the government since the election.
In a petition filed on his behalf, Falana said Wine and his wife were being illegally held incommunicado without adequate provision for food.
He said the singer had also been denied access to his lawyers in a bid to prevent him from filing a petition against the declaration of Museveni as the winner of the highly flawed presidential election.
The petition read, “Mr Wine and his wife are being illegally detained for days without any criminal charges preferred against him. He has also been denied adequate supply of food by hundreds of Uganda military forces and policemen who have laid siege to his house for the umpteenth time since election day.
“There is no legal basis for Mr Wine’s house arrest and continuous detention which has spiralled into several days. It would be recalled that Mr Wine’s challenger and incumbent president, Yoweri Museveni has been declared the winner of the presidential election.
“To date, no evidence of any wrongdoing for the arbitrary and unlawful house arrest, detention, continuous detention and assault of Mr Wine, his wife and domestic staff has been established. These arbitrary acts are a clear breach of Mr Wine’s right.
“The detention is arbitrary under Category I because it does not have any legal justification. The detention is arbitrary under Category III because the government’s detention of Mr Wine together with his wife failed to meet minimum international standards of due process.
“I am therefore seeking an opinion from the Working Group finding the house arrest and continuing detention of Mr Bobi Wine and his wife to be arbitrary and in violation of Uganda’s Constitution of 1995 (as amended) and obligations under international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Uganda is a state party.”
Falana, therefore, asked the UN group to demand the unconditional release of Bobi Wine, his family and staff.
Bobi Wine tweeted on Tuesday that his family had been stuck with a baby for the days they had been under house arrest.
He tweeted, “Day Six under house arrest and we’re still stuck with an 18-month-old baby who had paid a visit to her auntie (my wife) before we were raided & besieged. The dad has been denied access to her. We have run out of food and milk. No one is allowed to leave or come into our compound.”
Bobi Wine had earlier told FRANCE 24 that his life and that of his wife were in danger as the government continued to keep them under house arrest.
Bobi Wine said troops raided the headquarters of his party, National Unity Platform, on Monday as staff tried to prepare a legal challenge to Museveni’s declared victory in last week’s presidential election.
He said, “My wife and I are under house arrest. The military surrounded our house; more than 400 of them have surrounded our house. We are not allowed to leave; nobody is allowed to leave or to come in. We have run out of food. My wife was assaulted yesterday when she was trying to go to the garden to pick food.
“My lawyers are not allowed to see me and party officials are also not allowed to visit me and also all journalists are blocked from coming to see me so we are isolated, myself and my wife. We are in danger because we don’t know the intention of the soldiers, none of them is talking to us. They beat my security guard so bad just because he was asking them what they want, they could not identify themselves. Some of them are in military uniform while others are in plainclothes but are having automatic assault rifles.
“I am afraid for my life. I am afraid for my wife’s life but we must keep going because what we are doing is moral and it is just.”
Speaking about the atrocities being committed by the government, he said, “Just yesterday, four people were shot dead in a city called Masaka and they are keeping me and my wife under house arrest because they don’t want us to address the nation on the way forward, they don’t want us to talk to the press.”
Bobi Wine urged the Ugandan public to reject the results announced by the country’s electoral body, saying they did not reflect their wish.
He, however, vowed to challenge the actions of Museveni through “non-violent” and “legal” means.
Long-term leader, Museveni, was declared the ‘winner’ of the January 14 presidential election marred by allegations of massive rigging and intimidation of opposition members, securing 58.6 percent of the vote and a sixth term after 35 years in power.
Bobi Wine has rejected the results, describing the election as a sham.
On Monday, the UN Watch took to its Twitter account to allege that Museveni committed “widespread voter fraud” to win the just-concluded presidential election.
The group tackled the 76-year-old for shutting down the country’s Internet ahead of the election.
The post read, “Congratulations to Uganda President Yoweri Museveni on winning re-election after murdering, imprisoning and silencing opponents, shutting down the Internet, and committing widespread voter fraud.”