Uganda's Bobi Wine Charged With 'Annoying' the President

Robert Kyagulanyi addresses journalists at his home in Magere, Wakiso District.

The 37-year-old opposition figure was charged while in court to face a separate treason charge. Bobi Wine says he wants to challenge longtime President Yoweri Museveni in an upcoming election.

Ugandan rapper-turned-opposition activist Bobi Wine was charged with intending to "annoy, alarm or ridicule" the president during a court appearance on Tuesday.

"This government of President [Yoweri] Museveni is in panic mode. At first it was treason and now it is annoying President Museveni. Who on earth can't be annoyed?" Wine told the AFP news agency.

"It is a ridiculous charge and am ready to challenge it in court," he said.

Wine also faces a treason charge for his involvement in an opposition rally last year that saw some protesters stone Museveni's convoy.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said he was tortured in prison after his subsequent arrest. The government denies any wrongdoing.

The high court is expected to rule on the charge. No date has yet been set.

The court appearance came as Wine urged police to probe the kidnapping and torture of one of his supporters by unknown assailants.

"He was abducted and subjected to horrendous forms of torture. His left eye was plucked out, two of his fingers cut off and parts of his body were burnt with a flat iron," Wine wrote on Facebook.

Police said Monday that they had opened an investigation into the death.

Wine, who has been arrested multiple times, entered parliament in 2017 and is among the fiercest critics of Museveni. He plans to run in national elections in 2021.

The 74-year-old president has been in power since 1986. Last year, he changed the rules on term limits to allow him to stay in office until 2030.

(AFP, dpa, AP)

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