Ugandan police arrested pop star turned MP Bobi Wine on Monday, barely two days after lifting the house arrest of one of the potential challengers to veteran President Yoweri Museveni, one of his lawyers and a police spokesman said.
Wine, at 37, is the figurehead of a new generation who grew up under Museveni but want to see change and his anti-government songs have helped win him a big following.
Police arrested him after he answered a summons to the Criminal Investigations Directorate on Monday morning, said one of his lawyers, Asuman Basalirwa.
“This time we have not been informed why he has been detained,” he added.
Wine entered parliament in 2017. One of his songs contains the lyric “freedom fighters become dictators,” while others hint that Museveni has stayed in power too long.
The 74-year-old leader has ruled Uganda since seizing power at the head of a rebel army in 1986 but intends to contest a sixth term in office.
Wine was being held at a police station 30 kilometres east of the capital Kampala, said his lawyer Basalirwa.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga confirmed the arrest.
“He is with the police and investigations are on,” he said.
Police had withdrawn from Wine’s residence on Saturday, he added. “Until this morning he was a free man.”
From Tuesday to Saturday last week, Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, found himself under house arrest at his home in Kampala as police officers blocked his way when he tried to leave for a concert at his nightclub.
Last week, police spokesman Enanga described the situation as a “preventive arrest” imposed when the authorities decide someone is about to commit a crime.
The cancellation by the authorities of one his performances last week led to clashes between opposition supporters and baton-wielding police who also fired tear gas.
Several times in recent months, the authorities have stepped in to prevent Wine giving concerts and his house arrest last week was part of those efforts to keep him offstage.