Statement: WLC calls for the immediate release of Bobi Wine

Bobi Wine, leader of the democratic opposition in Uganda and member of the World Liberty Congress, has been arrested by regime agents upon returning to his country from South Africa, where he was meeting with the diasporas of various autocratic states. The Ugandan dictatorship claims that it was merely “escorting” Mr. Wine to his home, but photos and videos of the event clearly demonstrate a violent and unjustifiable arrest.

Bobi Wine is currently under house arrest. The police crackdown comes amidst accusations of “criminal acts,” “illegal acts,” and “disrupting the public order.” These accusations are commonly used to excuse the harassment of democratic dissidents, and are the hallmark of politically motivated persecutions. Wine was snatched off of the airport tarmac and tossed into a police vehicle, where he was reportedly beaten by his captors. His home is currently surrounded by police and military.

Mr. Wine leads a grassroots democratic movement which seeks to remove Yoweri Museveni, an autocrat who has governed the country since 1986. A threat to the established political order, Mr. Wine’s National Unity Party (NUP), was banned by the regime in September, and its members have faced arbitrary arrests and ongoing harassment by the authorities. NUP reports that 300 of its supporters were arrested last night.

The WLC calls upon the international community to stand with the democratic movement in Uganda. The regime of Yoweri Museveni receives billions of dollars in aid from the US government, much of which is used to purchase military equipment used to repress Ugandan democratic voices. The international community should speak with one voice; the democratic voices of Uganda cannot be allowed to be terrorized and intimidated by an illegitimate autocrat. The WLC and the international network of democracy defenders it represents stands with Bobi Wine and demands his immediate release.

We are building the Congress as a legitimate and democratic institution with shared principles and mission, representation of all countries under autocratic regimes and clear governance structure.
The Congress will meet every year for the annual General Assembly with the intention to become an alternative voice to autocratic regimes.