On Wednesday, August 26, police in Mbale (Eastern region) fired tear gas to disperse supporters of the National Unity Platform (NUP) outside the Mbale High Court. The group was waiting for Kyadondo East MP and NUP party leader Robert Kyagulanyi, also known by his stage name as a popular music artist Bobi Wine, to arrive for a scheduled hearing. Clashes broke out between the crowd and security forces, who responded with tear gas. Police made several arrests, stating that some of the supporters were reportedly violating COVID-19 social distincing measures.
Further unrest and associated disruptions are possible over the near term.
Robert Kyagulanyi has become a prominent opposition leader following his move into politics in 2017. The outspoken critic of President Yoweri Museveni has twice been arrested by security forces on charges related to anti-government protests and both arrests sparked unrest amongst his populist support base. In July 2019 Kyagulanyi announced his bid to run for President in the 2021 general election. In July 2020 he assumed leadership of the National Unity, Reconciliation and development Party and revamped it as the National Unity Platform, becoming the party's de facto presidential candidate.
Those in Mbale are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests, demonstrations, and political gatherings, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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