Bobi Wine whisked away from Entebbe International Airport in a Police van.

High anticipation and tension filled the air at Entebbe International Airport as supporters of the National Unity Platform (NUP) assembled to welcome their party leader, Robert ‘Bobi Wine’ Kyagulanyi, from his mobilisation tours in South Africa and Canada. However, their joy was cut short when reports emerged that Bobi Wine was apprehended by unknown individuals immediately after alighting from the plane. The circumstances surrounding the incident and the identity of the persons involved remain shrouded in mystery.

Before the controversial incident at the airport, the Entebbe Police, led by Entebbe Main Police Station OC Mr Ivan Kareiga, had arrested seven NUP supporters and leaders in Entebbe municipality and Katabi town council. The NUP members were seized at Abaita Ababiri, where they had gathered, chanting party slogans in anticipation of the ‘One Million March to Entebbe’ event. Despite the heightened security presence, Ms Joyce Nabatta, the Wakiso District NUP women’s forum leader, expressed optimism about welcoming Kyagulanyi.

“It’s true there is a lot of security deployment, but we believe it’s there to protect us, not to stop us from welcoming the nation’s leader who was voted by the people. President Kyagulanyi Sentamu tomorrow at 10 am at Entebbe International Airport,” she said. Kampala Metropolitan Police Deputy PRO ASP Luke Owoyesigyire confirmed that seven Bobi Wine supporters were in detention following the day’s arrest.

For the past two weeks, Bobi Wine had been away in the US for specialized medical care following his prior arrest on August 15, 2018. Despite the risks, he expressed his desire to return to his homeland and meet his people. “There are 40 million people who need hope, so I will go and meet them, no matter what,” Wine told the Guardian.

Legal Troubles and Health Concerns

Bobi Wine has been arrested twice within a month and is seen as a significant challenger to President Yoweri Museveni. He is facing treason charges related to an incident in which President Museveni’s campaign motorcade was stoned in Northwestern Arua Municipality. These charges, which he denies, were filed after he was granted a travel permit by a Ugandan court upon being freed on bail.

His arrest at Entebbe International Airport has raised serious concerns about his safety. His legal team argues that he is suffering from kidney issues and wounds from beatings. Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo described his client’s abduction from the airport as violent and expressed concerns about his medical examination being conducted by doctors linked to his torture.

Government’s Stance and Future Implications

The Ugandan Police’s blocking of Bobi Wine from leaving the country, despite the court declining to do so, raised a lot of eyebrows. Kyagulanyi’s arrest has stirred controversy and sparked debates about civil liberties and political suppression in Uganda. The series of events raises critical questions about the state of democracy and the rule of law in the country.

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