A Ugandan court has ordered security forces to cease surrounding the home of opposition leader Bobi Wine, whose house arrest since a mid-month presidential election has drawn international pressure, his lawyer said on Monday.
Troops had blocked the 38-year-old pop star-turned-politician from leaving his house in a suburb of the capital Kampala since he voted in the January 14 election where he ran against long-serving incumbent President Yoweri Museveni.
“The judge ordered that the state and its agencies should immediately vacate his property and his right to personal liberty should immediately be reinstated,” lawyer George Musisi told Reuters.
Museveni, 76, who has been in power since 1986, was declared winner of the poll with 59% of votes versus 35% for Wine, who had for years denounced corruption and nepotism in his songs. He rejected the result, alleging fraud which the government denies.
Musisi said the judge also ruled that if there were any serious allegations against Wine, he should be brought before a court or police.
Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said he had no immediate comment as the ruling had not been received.
There was no immediate reaction from the government or confirmation from the court.
U.S. ambassador Natalie E. Brown had tried to visit Wine at his home, drawing an accusation of meddling and subversion from the Ugandan government.
Ugandan opposition says troops raided offices amid election challenge
Earlier this month, Wine, said troops raided his headquarters as staff tried to prepare a legal challenge to President Yoweri Museveni’s declared victory in an election last week.
“Our party office has been raided by the military and been cordoned off,” Wine told Reuters. “Everybody is being pursued.”
Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said the National Unity Platform (NUP) office had been cordoned off for security reasons, but he gave no more details and did not say if the troops had entered the premises.
The electoral commission declared the incumbent Museveni the winner of the Jan. 14. election on Saturday, triggering protests in two areas. Former popstar-turned-legislator Wine of the NUP political came second and accused his rival of winning by fraud..
In the election, where voters were also choosing members of parliament, NUP won 61 seats. Five other opposition parties won 48 seats, giving opposition lawmakers in the next House 109 seats in total, a government statement said on Monday. The ruling party won 316 seats.
Wine, real name Robert Kyagulanyi, appealed to the youth to vote out Museveni, a 76-year-old who has held power since 1986. Wine’s songs have frequently criticised Museveni for corruption and nepotism, charges he denies.
Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders, has dismissed the allegations of fraud and said the election may turn out to be the “most cheating free” in Uganda’s history.
Bobi Wine rejects poll results: Sarah Kimani
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