Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Uganda on Wednesday banned rallies to welcome an opponent of President Yoweri Museveni home from the US where he received treatment for injuries he said were sustained during torture by security forces.

The homecoming of Robert Kyagulanyi, a pop star and opposition legislator also known as Bobi Wine, could present a significant challenge to Museveni, who has ruled since 1986.

Kyagulanyi attracted a youth following through songs critical of Museveni and his prominence rose due to an incident in August in which his driver was shot dead and he was detained and charged with treason over what authorities said was the stoning of Museveni’s convoy.

He said in a tweet he was "headed home" and showed a picture of himself at an airport holding a walking stick.

Police said they had received information that supporters of Kyagulanyi planned to stage rallies and processions on his return but had not sought permission. "As a result, they [the rallies] are unlawful and would disrupt normal business activities," a police statement said.

Kyagulanyi has pleaded not guilty to treason charges.

His case sparked protests in the capital, Kampala, and drew global condemnation.

In a statement, five US legislators said they were "gravely concerned" by the torture of the legislators and their supporters and described it as "unacceptable".