Uganda’s opposition presidential candidate, Bobi Wine, was defiant Friday after being released on bail following violent clashes between security forces and his supporters that left at least 37 people dead, marking a violent start to the country’s election season.
Two days of protests were sparked by Wine’s arrest on Wednesday ahead of a political rally in the run-up to the January 14 election, in which he is seen as the main challenger to President Yoweri Museveni, who is seeking to extend his 36-year rule.
Wine, a musician-turned-politician, was charged on Friday with infringing Covid-19 restrictions on large gatherings.
“I was violently arrested, tortured while in detention, threatened with death but this did not break my resolve,” Wine told AFP after his release.
“I promise the people of Uganda that whatever the situation I will not abandon them on a journey we started together, we must finish it together and that’s when we have removed a dictator from power,” he said, referring to Museveni.
In Kampala, drivers blared their horns and radio stations played Wine’s hits after news of his release came through.