Ugandan presidential hopeful’s office raided

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Ugandan pop star and presidential hopeful Bobi Wine said security forces raided his office and confiscated documents, branding items and cash amid what the opposition says is a campaign of harassment by government.

Wine, real name Robert Kyagulanyi, told Reuters dozens of police and soldiers stormed the offices of his National Unity Platform (NUP) party in Kamwokya, a suburb in Kampala.

Security personnel, he said, seized documents with signatures from supporters his party collected to back his nomination, as well as 23 million shillings ($6,207.83).

Other items confiscated included promotional materials such as red berets, posters, T-shirts, pens and notebooks. An unspecified number of supporters were detained during the raid, he said.

“This shows panic,” he said.

“It’s the habit of (President Yoweri) Museveni and his regime to intimidate his most fierce opponent especially ahead of elections”

Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso, Uganda military spokeswoman, said NUP premises in Kamwokya were targeted to collect military clothing worn illegally in public. Police officials were not immediately available for comment.

Supporters of Bobi Wine have used red berets as their symbol but government last year classified the item as military wear and banned its civilian use.

Wine aims to end Museveni’s 34 years of the East Africa nation that made him Africa’s third longest-ruling president. Elections are scheduled for February next year.

His youthful age and music earned him a large following in the relatively young country of 42 million, rattling the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and drawing a security crackdown on his supporters.

Since expressing his presidential ambition, police and the military repeatedly dispersed his rallies, beaten and detained his supporters.

The Ugandan government denies using force to keep Museveni in power, saying his long incumbency is due popular support.