Uganda’s main opposition leader Bobi Wine has sent his children out of the country for their safety after receiving threats ahead of a presidential election due next week.
In the past week, pop-star-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine, has been dragged from his car by police during an online press conference and dozens of his campaign staff have been arrested.
The latest incidents came after weeks of violence of a rare intensity for elections in Uganda, in which candidates have been arrested, rallies banned and dozens of protesters killed.
“My children have lived in constant fear over the past three years. On several occasions, the cars which trail us have been trailing them, even to and from school,” Mr Wine said in a Facebook post on Thursday in which he explained his decision to send them abroad.
“For most of this year, they have largely lived as prisoners; very rarely leaving home. As we near the election, I received credible information from sources within the system of plans by the regime to cause physical harm to them,” he added.
Strongman Yoweri Museveni, a former rebel leader who has been in power for nearly 35 years, will face ten challengers in the January 14 vote battling to secure the ballots of over 17 million registered voters.
Despite the violence, 38-year-old Mr Wine has drawn huge crowds of young people wearing the party’s red at his party’s rallies.
Mr Wine uses the events to blast the corruption of an “old guard” of politicians represented by 76-year-old Mr Museveni in a country whose population has a median age of 16.
But Mr Wine’s success has come as a price for himself and his party. One of his bodyguards, Francis Senteza, was killed last month when he was run over by a vehicle allegedly belonging to the military police.
He has been arrested multiple times, and on Thursday, he was seen being dragged out of his car during a Zoom press conference in which he asked the International Criminal Court to investigate government officials for sanctioning widespread human rights abuses in the run-up to the vote.
The convoy of another presidential candidate, Patrick Amuriat, was fired at with live bullets.
Ugandan presidential candidate Bobi Wine sends children to the US for their safety ahead of fraught election The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ The Telegraph.