US ambassador blocked from visiting Bobi Wine as official warns 'don't cry for Ugandans'
Posted January 19, 2021 5:02 a.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2021 9:49 a.m. EST
CNN — The United States ambassador to Uganda was blocked by Ugandan security forces from visiting presidential candidate Bobi Wine on Monday.
Wine -- a singer-turned-politician, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi -- has been under house arrest after the military surrounded his home on Friday.
Uganda's longtime leader President Yoweri Museveni was declared winner for a record sixth term, amid an internet blackout and allegations of rigging.
Ambassador Natalie E. Brown went to Wine's resident to check on his health and safety, because he has "effectively been unable to leave his home, with security forces surrounding his residence," the embassy in Kampala said in a Facebook post.
"Uganda's election campaigns were marred by the harassment of opposition candidates, campaign staff, and supporters; suppression of the media and civil society organization activities; and a nationwide internet shutdown before, during, and after voting day," the post said.
Speaking through one of his associates, Wine said he had run out of food and that Brown was unable to leave any with him.
"The main motivation for us to keep doing what we're doing in the face of all of this intimidation is because what we are doing is moral," he said in an audio message posted on Twitter on Monday.
The 18-month old niece of Wine's wife, Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi, is in the residence and her father has been denied access because nobody is allowed to leave or come into the compound, Wine said on Twitter.
Wine rejects Saturday's election results, saying he has evidence of fraud and intimidation. He did not provide details of that alleged evidence, saying his team would share it when communications lines were restored.
CNN has not received a response to requests for comment from the Ugandan government.
Uganda's government spokesman, Ofwono Opondo, wrote in an opinion piece that Brown shouldn't "cry for Ugandans."
"For Natalie to cast doubt that elections wouldn't be 'credible' merely because the US embassy had voluntarily pulled out of observation, is aimless shooting," he said in the piece, which he posted on his Twitter page.
If US democracy was unassailable, Brown should first note President Donald Trump's false election fraud claims and the Capitol riot, he added.
"As of now, Natalie should be the last person giving unqualified lectures on election integrity."
The US decided not to observe the elections due to the electoral commission's decision to deny more than three-quarters of its accreditation requests, said Brown in a statement on Wednesday, a day ahead of the elections.
The embassy called on Museveni's government to respect its citizens' "human rights and fundamental freedoms" and to "uphold international human rights standards."