Uganda: 41 Bobi Wine supporters remanded for wearing red berets

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This photo taken on October 16, 2020 shows one of the supporters of Bobi Wine reacting as soldiers force him to sit in a truck to Kitalya Prison where he and 40 others were remanded by City Hall Court in Kampala. PHOTO/ ABUBAKER LUBOWA

By EPHRAIM KASOZI & By Juliet Kigongo

A total of 41 supporters of National Unity Platform (NUP) arrested in security raid have been remanded to prison for allegedly possessing military fatigue unlawfully and holding illegal gatherings.

 The Magistrates Court at City Hall remanded the group until October 23 for mention after they denied two charges of unlawful possession of military fatigue and illegal gatherings.   

The male suspects were remanded to Kitalya Prison while the females were remanded to Kigo Prison.

The state accuses the group of wearing red uniforms gazzetted for exclusive use by persons in the armed forces of Uganda.

The group appeared before Grade One Magistrate, Mr Valerian Tumuhimbise who remanded the saying the court will hear their applications for bail in the next session.

They were driven to the court amid heavy deployment of the Police, Local Defence Unit (LDU) and military police personnel.

Those remanded include Ivan Ntulume, Abdul Baraza, Stephen Mutebi, Bisali Hussein, Martin Luwaga, Margaret Namuleme, Shadia Namatovu, Catherine Nabaka, Winnie Nakayiwa, Amina Nagawa, Joseph Kimbowa, Emma Muzaale and Jordan Sekyanzi.

Others are; Willy Wambi, Ibra Zirinsanga, Asuman Seruwagi, Umar Albashir, Amin Sadam, Ben Sekiwa, Ali Sekyanzi, Mubiru Sadat Saddam, Musoke Steven, Nsubuga Muzafaru, Robert Serwanja Bekakampa, Bazira Kiwanuka, Fred Luwaga, Hassan Busulwa, Willy Tomusange, Katongole Sadat Kigongo Paul and Shaban Gonyi Makale.

Their co-accused include; Salongo Kakonge Abdul Naser, Shafik Nsamba, Fahad Migade, Ssemakula Maamood, Moses MbabaziKawenje, Moreen Namwanje Kiggund, Lydia Bangi Agness  and Ben Mukasa among others.   

Prosecution case:

Prosecution alleges that on October 14 at Kamwokya in Kampala District, the suspects not being persons serving in any of the armed forces of Uganda were found wearing or in possession of uniforms or dresses bearing parts, having the appearance or close resemblance of the armed forces with distinctive marks of the security forces uniforms which include peeps and berates as to lead to the belief that if it is a uniform in such a manner or circumstance as to be likely to bring contempt on that uniform.

It is also alleged that the suspects were involved in a gathering in disobedience of lawful orders meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.   

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Bobi Wine supporters gesture while in a truck shortly after they were remanded to prison on October 16, 2020

The group was rounded up on October 14 during a joint security raid at NUP offices when presidential aspirant Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, and other party leaders were meeting youth leaders on the eve of parliamentary nominations.

Mr Kyagulanyi, who said he would challenge President Museveni in the February 2021 polls addressed the youth before later escaping through the backdoor.

The raid on NUP and other places came after the Attorney General William Byaruhanga in a letter to the Minister of Internal Affairs on April 26, 2019, which was copied to, among others, the Inspector General of Police, pointed out that there is no law barring people from wearing red berets.

Bobi Wine, 38, has become a popular figure among the youth in a country where the median age is less than 16.

After more than 30 years in power, the 76-year-old Museveni is the only president most have known. 

Bobi, nicknamed the “Ghetto President”, announced last year he would challenge Museveni in 2021’s presidential election. 

But since becoming an MP in 2017, he has been routinely arrested and put under house arrest, his concerts banned and public rallies dispersed with teargas.

Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, had the constitution amended for a second time to allow him to run a sixth time in 2021.

Source Daily Monitor.

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