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Kenya Rights Activists Demand Bobi Wine’s Release

Rights activists in Kenya are demanding officials in neighboring Uganda release Robert Kyagulanyi, a Ugandan politician and musician popularly known as Bobi Wine.

Kyagulanyi has been held by Ugandan authorities since his August 14 arrest in the northwestern town of Arua, where campaigning was taking place for the municipality parliamentary by-election. Kyagulanyi, who represents the Kyadondo East political region, had been campaigning for an opposition candidate.

In the violence, Uganda’s presidential motorcade was attacked and Kyagulanyi’s driver was shot dead. Kyagulanyi was charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition at a military court in Gulu, Uganda.

His arrest and detention at a military camp at Makindye, on the outskirts of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, has caused outrage across East Africa.

Tuesday in Nairobi, the Law Society of Kenya advocacy group held a news conference demanding the politician’s release.

“We hereby call on the government of the Republic of Uganda to launch a thorough independent and impartial (investigation) including appropriate forensic investigations into how Yassin Kawuma was killed with a shot to his head. There must be accountability for this death. (There must be) an immediate and unconditional release of Kyagulanyi, otherwise known as Bobi Wine, from military incarceration,” said Charles Kanjama of the Law Society of Kenya.

After the attack on the presidential motorcade, Kyagulanyi’s driver was shot dead as police fired live rounds to disperse crowds.

Thirty-three other people were arrested the same day and were arraigned in court and charged with treason.

Before his arrest, Kyagulanyi suggested on Twitter that the killing was a case of mistaken identity, and that he was the target.

The Law Society of Kenya called on its members to wear red ribbons in a weeklong campaign for solidarity with those in Uganda subjected to human rights violations.

“We urge the government of the Republic of Uganda to respect the rule of law and recognize that all power belongs to the people,” Kanjama said. “The people of Uganda want peace and stability and the ongoing crackdown on opposition dissidents will do nothing but worsen the situation.”


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