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19 nov. 2020 | 10h37 UTC

Protesters gather in Jinja following arrest of presidential candidate November 19

Uganda Alerte de sécurité

Protesters gather in Jinja (Eastern Region) on November 19 following arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu; avoid protests and large gatherings

TIMEFRAME expected from 19/11/2020, 12h00 until 21/11/2020, 11h59 (Africa/Kampala). COUNTRY/REGION Jinja

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Protesters have gathered in Jinja (Eastern Region) on Thursday, November 19, to denounce the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, known as musician Bobi Wine. Ssentamu is currently being held at the Jinja Central Police Station and reports indicate that demonstrators began their rally outside the station before moving through Jinja. There were no immediate reports of clashes. 

Seven people were killed and more than 30 injured in nationwide protests on Wednesday, November 18, as unrest broke out after Ssentamu staged a rally in Luuka district (Eastern Region) on Wednesday. He had been scheduled to address his supporters but police accused Ssentamu of breaching coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions on gatherings of more than 200 people. It is not clear where the fatalities occurred, but earlier reports on Wednesday suggested live ammunition had been used in Kampala against protesters who'd gathered in the Kiseka Market area of the city. 

Further protests across Uganda are possible in the coming hours and days over Kyagulanyi's arrest and subsequent clashes between opposition demonstrators and security forces are likely to occur.


Political tensions in Uganda have been increasing ahead of the presidential election in 2021, after President Yoweri Museveni pushed through controversial constitutional reforms in December 2017 to remove the presidential age limit in a move widely seen as paving the way for him to stand for a sixth term in office. The debate around the proposed constitutional reforms was bitter with infighting within the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), regular protests and several opposition leaders being arrested. However, Museveni and his supporters, backed by a closely-aligned and powerful military, have largely succeeded in suppressing opposition to his candidacy within the NRM.

Having come to prominence during the constitutional reform campaign, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has become a major opposition talisman following his move into politics in 2017. The outspoken critic of Museveni has been arrested multiple times by security forces on charges related to anti-government protests, with arrests sparking unrest amongst his populist support base. After announcing his bid to run for president in the 2021 general election in 2019, 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 Uganda are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.


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