Musician-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, also called Bobi Wine, took part in demonstrations last month against a controversial tax on social media (AFP Photo/Isaac Kasamani)
Ugandan security deployed on the streets of the capital and controlled roads leading to the international airport on Thursday ahead of the return MP Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as singer Bobi Wine.
Kyagulanyi, 36, has been seeking medical treatment in the US for injuries he claims were sustained while allegedly being tortured in custody following his arrest last month.
The pop star turned opposition firebrand was charged with treason alongside more than 30 others after President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade was stoned by opposition supporters. Since entering parliament last year Kyagulanyi has emerged as a leading critic of Museveni, a 74-year-old former rebel leader in charge since 1986. He was due back in Uganda early Thursday afternoon.
Riot police and soldiers were deployed in Kampala, and access to the airport, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Kampala, was tightly controlled by checkpoints and road closures. In a statement issued Wednesday, Ugandan police ordered that, “There shall be no unlawful rallies, processions and assemblies”, that Kyagulanyi should only be met by “his immediate family” upon arrival and that he “is expected to comply with the traffic laws and regulations.”
Kyagulanyi responded on Twitter writing, “I am a free Ugandan with the right to move freely in my country. The police has no business telling me who receives me and who cannot or where I go and where I cannot.”
In the past returning opponents have been greeted by large crowds that turned into a slow hours-long procession towards the capital marked by clashes between police and supporters.