The Injustice in the arrest of Bobi Wine

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 17-Aug-2018

Bobi wine is unapologetically standing up to the Ugandan President. He was born Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu on 12 February 1982, in what was then Mpigi District, but is now Gomba District. He grew up in the Kamwookya slum in the northeast part of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. Bobi wine who started his career as a musician was very popular for his daring lyrics. Wine’s lyrics often advocate for ghetto-residents in Uganda. He has supported several practical projects to improve conditions for the poor.

In 2012, he started a campaign to promote more regular cleaning in hospitals, sanitization, garbage management and hand washing to prevent disease. Wine is often outspoken about political and social issues in Uganda, and has, as a result, provoked controversy. Wine has a long-standing competition / animosity toward fellow Ugandan musician Bebe Cool, who has sung in support of the long-time Ugandan President Museveni and his ruling NRM party; while Wine has supported opposition interests.

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Ever since he was sworn in the parliament in 2017, He has been a thorn in the flesh of President Yoweri Museveni, drawing huge crowds and supporters at rallies and also raising speculation that he could become a presidential contender in the 2021 election. This is one opposition the president would not take likely knowing his nature of bringing down oppositions. His debates have caused a stir especially since the amendment to strike out the age limit bill was introduced to parliament by Raphael Magezi, the Igara West Member of Parliament. He has been fighting it vigorously saying he wants to protect the future of Uganda from Museveni’s lack of vision. In his words and in reference to the long rule of the president “I want him to retire in dignity, but if not we will force him to.”

In October 3, Bobi wine woke up to explosives rocking his residence  after claims he received death threats. Two other opposition member of the parliament, Makindye West representative, Mr Allan Ssewanya and Rubaga North MP Mr Moses Kasibante also had similar attacks at their residence. Ugandan police said they were investigating the incident, and till date nothing has been said about the incident.

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Even after his driver was killed on 14 August, 2018 by Ugandan police, supposedly a missed opportunity to kill him, he was arrested following an attack on President Yoweri Museveni’s convoy on the same day in north-western Uganda. The police claimed the legislators were heading to Kampala’s city centre to cause chaos and bundled him and three other legislators with him in a police van, driving them off to the police station. Their arrest was later confirmed on Wednesday.

According to reports received by the director of Uganda’s government-appointed Human Rights Commission, Ida Nakiganda, detained musician-turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi will appear before a military court on today, 17th August. Questions like why the authorities plan to try Bobi Wine in a military, rather than civilian court? Is a pointer to the injustice the parliament member is facing.  According to his lawyers, Asuman Basalirwa and Medard Ssegona, Wine has been brutally assaulted and is unable to walk or speak. He was admitted to a military hospital on Wednesday for unspecified treatment, the country’s deputy prime minister told parliament. However, 32 of his colleagues and supporters have been charged with treason at a civilian court in Gulu. Wine has been charged with two counts of unlawful possession of firearms and one count of unlawful possession of ammunition.

While his supporters gathered to protest his unlawful detention, Ugandan police have fired tear gas to disperse supporters of the Afrobeats star.The protest took place in Kamwokya,a stronghold of the opposition known as the “Ghetto Republic”, in the capital, Kampala. Bobi wine also prides himself as the “ghetto president” to show he is committed to championing the interests of the poor.

Remember Uganda’s main opposition leader Kizza Besigye, he has also lend his voice to the movement demanding for the immediate release of Afrobeats star and MP Robert Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine. According to him, the treason charges against Bobi Wine were “trumped up”, and were similar to those he faced for opposing the rule of long-serving President Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM).

Currently trending is the #FreeBobiWine movement on social media. As a means to oppress this opposition, President Yoweri may have just made this youngman more popular. As Bobi wine will always say “the people power is bigger than the people in power.”

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