Uganda: Bobi Wine On the Spot for Removing Officer’s Mask

Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, is seen in video clip that went viral on social media harassing a police officer on duty in Jinja District.

The National Unity Platform candidate who was campaigning in Jinja recently had not put on a facemask when he lost his cool and forcefully removed a facemask from a police officer, whom he wanted the public to identify as one of his tormentors.

The police officer had a facemask to protect himself and others from the deadly coronavirus. The virus has so far killed 219 people in Uganda.

However, social media has attacked Mr Kyagulanyi for not putting on facemask at a time when Covid-19 cases are soaring and pulling down the officers’ face mask.

The incident that preceded the video recording took place last Saturday in Jinja District after Mr Kyagulanyi was held in what he called an ambush.

He yesterday told Daily Monitor that he removed the police officer’s facemask because he wanted to know who was arresting his people.

“They diverted us from the main road to a bushy path near a swamp. They sealed us off from both [in front and at the back] and started arresting my people. These were hooded counter terrorism officers whom we wanted to know by face,” he said.

After his campaigns in Luuka and Kamuli District, he went to Jinja District for his second campaign rally but when he reached Buwenge Trading Centre, police mounted a barricade and diverted his motorcade to the bushy path towards Budondo village.

A few metres on the path, two police vans carrying hooded counter terrorism officers arrived and fired teargas for about 30 minutes before ordering Mr Kyagulanyi to go back where he was coming from.

During the fracas, seven of his personal bodyguard were arrested and bundled onto the waiting police patrol vans. Some of them sustained injuries which they attributed to police brutality.

“They didn’t tell us why they were arresting us or who they were. I wanted their faces to be exposed to the cameras because they have been targeting me,” he said.

Asked why he was not wearing a mask at the time of the fracas, Mr Kyagulanyi responded: “I had been tear-gassed in the face and I couldn’t sustain my mask on. My intention is to keep my team and my people safe that is why I always encourage them to wear masks.”

At the time of this interview, Bobi Wine was campaigning in the West Nile districts of Obongi, Moyo and Adjumani.

In West Nile, voters asked him to solve the long lasting impasse between the borders of Moyo and South Sudan.

The presidential candidate promised to reinstate relationships with neighbouring countries and solve transport problems. “I know that transport in this areas is a big problem. You have very poor roads, the ferry in this area is very low but we will solve these issues as a priority once put into power,” he said.

However, Mr Kyagulanyi missed his last campaign in Adjumani because he arrived late having spent most of the time on the road from Obongi to Moyo where some of his vehicles broke down after getting stuck in the flooded River Foligo in Moyo District.

The ferry from Moyo to Adjumani set off at about 5.45pm but could not beat deadline for the rally at Boma grounds in Adjumani.

What they say

Basan Habibu, voter in Moyo

“Most of our roads are impassable and we spend a lot of time accessing our trading areas. This is our biggest problem and [roads] should be worked on. The ferry is not reliable yet our merchandise is sold in the neighbouring districts, but the means of transportation is frustrating.”

Ferida Afedraru, voter in Adjumani

“Our problem is with early and forced marriages which is brought about by poverty. The leaders especially Bobi Wine should have a plan to foster development and income for the common people here. We hope that Saccos and small businesses can be funded.”

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