Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine, 38, lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court on Monday seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election that gave victory to dictator Yoweri Museveni, 76, in power since 1986.
Museveni, a former guerrilla leader, was declared the winner in the January 14 election with 58.6% of the vote, while Wine obtained 34.8%. Addressing the nation after the announcement of the victory, the dictator dismissed allegations of manipulation of the results and said the election could be considered “the most cheat-free” in the country’s history.
The election campaign, however, was marked by a series of episodes of violence against Wine, his supporters and other opposition candidates.
“We want the vote overturned and repeated,” George Musisi, an attorney for Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP), said on Monday.
He asks the court to overturn the results, among other reasons, of the widespread use of violence. “There was intimidation from NUP agents and supporters, some were arrested the day before the elections and there was a pre-count of the votes,” he said.
For Museveni’s party spokesman, the petition is unlikely to succeed and the judiciary is trusted to judge the dispute fairly. “Kyagulanyi [Bobi Wine] tries to give his supporters a soft landing, but in himself he knows he’s really lost. “
Still wearing a red beret, Wine ran for president of the Central African country leading the People Power movement. In Ugandan parliamentary records, where he has been an MP since 2017, Bobi Wine is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, his Christian name, but he chose to use the one that launched him as a pop star at the start of the decade.
Like Bobi Wine, he succeeds with songs full of sarcasm and social denunciation, like “Filthy Rich” (rotten rich), in which he satirizes the elite of the African country. His style is Afrobeat, which mixes references from American rap with reggae and jazz.
He used his youthful energy and love of music in Uganda to bring together a large audience among young people and pose a challenge for Museveni.
During the campaign, Wine was forced to wear a bulletproof vest and helmet for safety reasons. To contain growing support for the new candidate, the authorities responded with a violent crackdown. Their protests were regularly interrupted by bullets, beatings, tear gas and arrests.
Wine himself was repeatedly barred from appearing on radio shows during the campaigns and was unable to travel to parts of the country to secure votes.
Museveni, meanwhile, came to power with the aura of the liberator, at the head of a guerrilla group that overthrew the dictatorship of Milton Obote. The wine was four years old.
For more than three decades, with successive constitutional maneuvers, Museveni remained in power – questions about the results of the previous four elections won by Museveni have been dismissed by the courts.
In the decisions, the majority of judges recognized that the elections were marked by irregularities, but that they were not sufficient to have affected the final result of the election in a substantial way.
A conservative evangelical, Museveni has accomplishments that have won her the goodwill of the international community. The main one was reducing the AIDS epidemic, based on a controversial policy that prioritizes sexual abstinence and fidelity in marriage and puts condom use in the background.
Criticism of his regime’s authoritarianism is frequent, especially the persecution of homosexuals.