Uganda opposition leader Bobi Wine says military enters home

KAMPALA (AP): Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine said Friday the military had entered and “taken control” of his home and “we are in serious trouble.”

He tweeted the news just hours after he alleged that Thursday’s election was rigged and said “every legal option is on the table” to challenge the official results, including peaceful protests. He referred to himself as the “president-elect.”

“None of these military intruders is talking to us. We are in serious trouble. We are under siege,” tweeted Wine, who was arrested several times during campaigning but never charged while dozens of party members were detained. He earlier said he feared for his life.

The government cut internet access in the East African country on the eve of the largely peaceful election day, and it remains off.

Uganda’s electoral commission said longtime President Yoweri Museveni leads Wine and other candidates based on results from roughly half of polling stations, receiving 62% of ballots while Wine had 29%. It said final results will be declared Saturday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleged to reporters that “whatever is being declared is a total sham.” At the time, there was a heavy police presence near his home.

The electoral commission said the burden is on Wine to prove his allegations. Wine said he would provide evidence of pre-ticked ballots and other irregularities once internet access in Uganda is restored.

“We secured a comfortable victory,” Wine said. “I am very confident that we defeated the dictator by far.” He was considering “peaceful and nonviolent protests” over the declared results and said “every legal option is on the table.” Candidates can challenge election results at the Supreme Court.

The election’s generational clash between the young singer-turned-lawmaker Wine and the 76-year-old president is widely watched in many African countries where booming youthful populations express frustration with longtime leaders amid the stresses of high unemployment and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Observers have reported problems monitoring the vote, including obtaining accreditation. Charity Ahimbisibwe, the team leader at the leading Uganda-based election observer group, said Friday she had been arrested while meeting with a journalist in a hotel in the capital, Kampala. She said she was taken to a police station where she was yet to be informed of the charges.

The electoral commission asserted that the internet shutdown will have no effect on the process. Meanwhile, Ugandans reported trouble as the internet shutdown disrupted mobile money payments.

Elections results were not announced by district, challenging attempts to track the vote.

Museveni has led Uganda since 1986 and still has support among some in Uganda for bringing stability. A longtime U.S. security ally, he once criticized African leaders who refused to step aside but has since overseen the removal of term limits and an age limit on the presidency.