Uganda’s Bobi Wine sent to jail for treason

Uganda’s musician turned parliamentarian Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, enjoyed only a brief reprieve this morning, from his traumatic detention by the military.

He was freed by a court martial over alleged illegal possession of firearms.The state dropped the three count charge.

But moments after, he was re-arrested and charged with treason at Gulu Magistrates Court.

He has been remanded in Gulu Central Prison until August 30, when he will return to court.

Uganda’s New Vision reported that Bobi Wine, who represents Kyadondo East constituency in Parliament as MP appeared weak in court and needed to be assisted in and out of the two courts where he was docked today.

His lawyer Medard Sseggona, swarmed by reporters outside the courtroom, said they would “fight from [the civilian] court the same way we have fought here [army court]”.

Kyagulanyi was then helped into the Police vehicle by his wife, Barbie, and driven off to the Gulu Magistrates’ Court.

Sseggona, the lead defence lawyer, had told the court martial that it was not right to try Bobi Wine in a military court, and prayed that Kyagulanyi be granted freedom.

“He needs urgent medical care,” he added.

Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti declared that the court had released Bobi Wine after terminating proceedings.

Kyagulanyi was last week charged in Gulu military barracks, days after his arrest. His detention followed a violent incident in the buildup of the Arua Municipality by-election.

As many as 12 candidates contested in the race to replace slain MP Ibrahim Abiriga, with independent Kassiano Wadri taking the day.

The violence, according to Police began after supporters of Wadri pelted President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade after campaigning for his party’s flagbearer Nusura Tiperu, who eventually emerged second-best in the contest.

This episode set in motion a series of events, including the arrest of Wadri, MPs Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Paul Mwiru (Jinja East) and Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality).

Wadri, the legislators and 29 other suspects were transferred to Gulu, from where they were charged with treason. Meanwhile, Bobi Wine was charged separately before the army court with three counts of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

It was alleged that Bobi Wine was found in possession of two submachine guns, ordinarily the monopoly of the defence forces.

Prosecution also alleged that Bobi Wine was found in possession of 35 bullets of calibre 7.62mmx39mm, equipment of the defence forces, in his hotel room.

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