It was not clear who was responsible for the death. Most of the 37 dead suffered gunshot wounds and traumatic injuries, said Uganda’s chief police pathologist Moses Byaruhanga.
Wayne, who proved to be the strongest contender for longtime Ugandan leader Youeri Museveni in next year’s elections, was released on bail on Friday, his lawyer Nicolas Opio said.
Opiyo said Wine was arrested for a coronavirus disorder. But, he said, “the real reason is, in fact, that it is part of a wider attempt to stifle opposition campaigns.”
Opposition candidates argue that if the government fears an escalation of coronavirus cases, it should postpone the presidential election.
Tensions rose before the poll on January 14th, as the 76-year-old Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, wants a sixth term. Last year, he was allowed to run again after the country’s supreme court upheld a decision to remove the presidential age limit, which had previously been set at 75.
Dozens of Wine supporters were injured and at least 577 arrested in protests that erupted across the country after police arrested Wine in Luuka, east of Kampala, on Wednesday. The 38-year-old wine has strong followers among young people in Uganda and their poor living in urban areas. He often called on Museveni to resign.
“The rising tide of violence so early in the election season does not bode well for the coming weeks before the election,” said Oriem Naiko, an African expert at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities can stop the slide into further violence by ending harassment against journalists and opposition candidates and their supporters and by forcibly interrupting their election rallies.
Another opposition candidate, Patrick Oboy Amuriat, of the Forum for Democratic Change party, he was also arrested on Thursday, but released hours later.
Museveni said in a statement that Uganda was losing people to the coronavirus and warned that it would not tolerate violations of coronavirus-related measures during campaigns. As of Friday, Uganda had registered more than 17,000 coronavirus cases and more than 150 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
This is the second time Wine has been arrested this month. On November 3, television footage showed him removed from his car by police shortly after registering as a candidate.
The wine, whose real name is Robert Cagulani, is likely to return to the campaign trail, Opio said. But he expressed concern about Wine’s safety.
“They are unlikely to kill him, but he is in serious danger of being injured, shot or wounded,” Opio said.
In 2018, Wine sought medical treatment in the United States after saying he was tortured by the Ugandan military while in custody after a brawl at a political rally in which his driver was fatally shot.
Uroton reported from Cape Town.