Uganda's Kyadondo East MP Bobi Wine was arrested by security forces on Tuesday after successfully handing in his nomination papers to run as the presidential candidate for his National Unity Platform party.
The singer and charismatic leader, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was dragged from his car by security forces and bundled into a police van, according to local media outlet NBS Television.
Ugandan police said in a statement he was forcibly removed from his car because officials believed he had “plans of holding illegal processions” into Kampala, the capital, after his nomination was certified.
“Plans have been put in place to effectively address groups that decide to act unlawfully,” the police statement said.
The police gave a tally of three security agents and four civilians injured in clashes on Tuesday, with 49 arrested for allegedly fomenting violence.
Wine said two weeks ago that his headquarters were ransacked by security forces and his candidacy papers and supporters petition reportedly taken. His NUP party was able to solicit the signatures needed in the short span of time before the Tuesday deadline for nomination papers to be handed in.
Wine was eventually returned home.
“The authority I have is the same authority you have,” he told his supporters, who waited for his return outside his home.
“Don't give up. Those who have cameras, use them. Those who have lips, use them. Those who have hands, use them. Those who have legs, use them," he added.
Wine has been the focus of police and security services, who have repeatedly detained him on grounds that he is trying to foment instability.
Another presidential candidate arrested
Opposition Forum for Democratic Change leader and presidential aspirant Patrick Amuriat was also arrested on Tuesday before he was able to deposit his presidential bid papers.
Amuriat was arrested, according to local paper The Monitor, after trying to organize a procession to the nomination centre.
President Yoweri Museveni, 76, was nominated by the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement, to run again as president. He has held the highest office in the country since 1986.
He warned against opponents who are trying to stir up trouble.
“There's nobody who is going to disturb here. Whoever tries will regret. Because for us, we don't play," said Museveni. “The (ruling party) fought to bring peace in this country. Nobody has more guns than us. But we don't scare people.”
Wine, 38, is considered a serious opponent to Museveni and has garnered a lot of support among Ugandan youths as he has repeatedly called for the current president to retire. Wine also has a following among urban voters and the poor.
Although the election is slated for 2021, the national electoral commission has not yet fixed a date.