Ugandan government critic alleges police shot dead his driver

KAMPALA (Reuters) - A musician turned anti-government politician alleged that police shot at his vehicle and killed his driver on Monday during campaigning for a parliamentary by-election in northwest Uganda.

Robert Kyagulanyi, a popular independent who is an outspoken critic of President Yoweri Museveni, said the shooting happened while he was canvassing for his preferred candidate.

“Police has shot my driver dead thinking they’ve shot at me,” Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine, said on Twitter, where he also posted a picture of a vehicle in which a man in blood-soaked clothing was slumped in the driver’s seat.

Reuters could not immediately verify the content of the picture or the circumstances under which it was taken.

Police spokesman Emirian Kayima declined to comment on the allegation that police had shot the driver, and said authorities were still gathering details about the incident.

“Police are handling a riotous situation in that area right now. We’re still gathering details of what happened and we will share when we have them,” Kayima said.

Kyagulanyi also said in his Twitter post that police and the military had cordoned off his hotel in Arua, some 350 km (220 miles) from the capital Kampala.

Since he joined parliament last year, Kyagulanyi has gained in popularity through his often biting criticism of Museveni’s government, which at times he expresses through his music.

Government officials see his appeal, especially to young people, as a threat to Museveni’s hold on power which is fraying due to public anger over deteriorating public services, corruption and rights abuses.

Critics say Museveni is set for a life presidency after parliament last year removed an age cap from the constitution that would have barred him from seeking re-election in 2021.

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by George Obulutsa and Alexander Smith