US Ambassador Natalie E Brown was stopped from visiting Bobi Wine who is effectively under house arrest.
Uganda’s government spokesman has accused the United States of trying to “subvert” last week’s presidential elections after the US ambassador attempted to visit opposition leader Bobi Wine, who has been under house arrest since Thursday.
Former pop star-turned-legislator Bobi Wine, who came second with almost 35 percent votes, rejected the results and accused his rival, President Yoweri Museveni, of winning by fraud. Bobi Wine has so far provided no evidence to support his allegations.
The electoral commission, however, on Saturday declared Museveni the winner with 58.6 percent of the vote. Museveni, 76, has been in power since 1986.
US Ambassador Natalie E Brown was stopped from visiting Bobi Wine at his residence in a suburb in the northern outskirts of the capital, the embassy said in a statement late on Monday.
The mission said Brown wanted to check on the “health and safety” of Bobi Wine, who became famous after years of singing about government corruption and nepotism, charges the government denies.
‘Meddle in Uganda’s internal politics’
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said Brown had no business visiting Bobi Wine.
“What she has been trying to do blatantly is to meddle in Uganda’s internal politics, particularly elections, to subvert our elections and the will of the people,” he said.
“She shouldn’t do anything outside the diplomatic norms.”
The sharp, public rebuke to the US from the Ugandan government is relatively unusual as the two nations are allies.
There was no immediate comment from Brown or the embassy.
Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, on Monday appealed to “fellow citizens of the world” to help him as he remained effectively under house arrest since Thursday.
The US supports Ugandan soldiers serving in an African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia and has donated about $1.5bn to Uganda’s health sector in the past three years.
The US and the European Union did not deploy observer missions for the polls because Ugandan authorities denied accreditation and failed to implement recommendations by past missions.
During the campaigning, security forces routinely broke up Bobi Wine’s rallies with tear gas, bullets, beatings and detentions.
They cited violations of laws meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus for those actions.
In November, 54 people were killed as security forces tried to quell riots that erupted in several cities after Bobi Wine was detained for alleged violation of the anti-coronavirus measures. He was arrested multiple times during the campaigning.
Bobi Wine and his National Unity Platform (NUP) have rejected the results and said they were planning to challenge it legally.
On Monday, security forces cordoned off the party’s offices in the capital.