Ugandan troops have withdrawn from around the home of opposition leader and pop star Bobi Wine, ending his house arrest since a January 14 election won by long-serving President Yoweri Museveni.
The withdrawal of security forces, which the government had said were for Wine’s own protection, complied with a court order on Monday, 26 January.
Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulani Ssentamu, has been under de-facto house arrest at his home outside the capital, Kampala, since he returned from voting on January 14.
Heavily armed soldiers and police officers surrounding the property had blocked members of Wine’s household, including his wife, Barbie, from leaving their compound.
Last week the US ambassador to Uganda was also blocked from visiting the pop star-turned-politician, who won 35 per cent of the vote according to official figures.
Wine had been besieged at home since voting in the presidential poll, where he rode a wave of youth disillusionment to challenge Museveni’s 34-year rule.
The incumbent was declared the winner with 59% of votes versus 35% for Wine, who for years denounced corruption and nepotism in his songs. The opposition rejected the result, alleging fraud and unfair conditions, including pre-filled ballot sheets, result tallies showing impossibly high numbers of voters and harassment of opposition polling agents.
Foreign pressure, from the United States to rights group Amnesty International, had been growing on Museveni to remove the restrictions at Wine’s home. There have also been calls for investigations into violence and irregularities around the election.