Will the U.S. Still Back Uganda’s Museveni Despite Another Sham Election?

Will the U.S. Still Back Uganda’s Museveni Despite Another Sham Election?
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni attends the state funeral of former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi, in Nairobi, Kenya, Feb. 11, 2020 (AP photo by John Muchucha).

On the afternoon of Jan. 18, U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Natalie Brown tried to pay a visit to the home of opposition leader Bobi Wine, in a suburb of the capital, Kampala. She had planned to check on Wine’s health and safety, but was turned back by security forces at the gate of his residential compound. The pop star-turned-presidential candidate, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has been under house arrest since casting his vote in the Jan. 14 general elections.

The government claims the soldiers guarding Wine’s home are there for his own protection. They may not be there much longer, as the Ugandan High Court ruled Monday that the house arrest must be lifted, though security forces have defied court orders in the past. Hours after the verdict, “the military still surrounds my home, blocking access to all!” Wine said on Twitter.

More than a week has passed since the incumbent president, Yoweri Museveni, defeated Wine to clinch a sixth term in office amid allegations of vote-rigging and an internet blackout that lasted more than four days. The election, which Wine called a “complete sham,” was one of the most violent in recent memory, as Wine and his supporters were repeatedly harassed, arrested, tear-gassed and even shot by security forces.

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