February 26, 2021

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Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine withdraws poll result challenge

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Bobi Wine, who had disputed January election results, says ‘the courts are not independent’ as he withdraws his case.

Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine says he is withdrawing a court case challenging presidential election results that handed victory to incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, alleging “bias” by Supreme Court justices hearing the case.

Speaking to a news conference in the capital Kampala on Monday, Bobi Wine said that he had decided to withdraw his case, claiming that “the courts are not independent, it is clear these people (judges) are working for Mr Museveni”.

Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, rejected the results of the January presidential election and said he believed victory was stolen from him. A pop star and lawmaker, Bobi Wine, 39, had asked the court to overturn the results on several grounds, including the widespread use of violence.

Museveni, a former guerrilla leader who has led the East African country since 1986, was declared the winner of the January 14 election with 59 percent of the vote, while Bobi Wine won 35 percent of the votes.

A political statement

Solomon Muyita, a judiciary spokesman, told Reuters news agency they will only respond to Bobi Wine’s accusations and his decision to withdraw the case when he formally withdraws it through his lawyers.

“Right now what he has done is, he has only made a political statement, as far as the records of the Supreme Court are (concerned) the case is still there,” he said.

Bobi Wine accused Museveni of staging a “coup” in the election and has previously urged his supporters to protest the result through non-violent means.

Human Rights Watch said the lead-up to the elections was characterised by widespread violence and human rights abuses.

The internet was shut down across the country shortly before voting started. It has since been revived, though access to social media is blocked.

Museveni, 76, has dismissed allegations of vote-rigging, calling the election “the most cheating-free” since independence from Britain in 1962.

Museveni has long been a Western ally, receiving copious amounts of aid and sending troops to regional trouble spots, including Somalia, to fight armed groups.

But Western backers have become increasingly frustrated at his reluctance to cede power and crackdowns on opponents.

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