Bobi Wine: The ‘Ghetto President’ versus the strongman President


Within the different is the actual President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, who — like a lot of Africa’s former revolutionaries — has clung to energy for many years, amid rising requires him to step down.

Museveni, 73, has dominated the east African nation with an iron fist since he took energy in 1986 and isn’t identified to be tender on his opponents; he has seen off a lot of them in his 32-year rule.

However some commentators are saying that Wine — along with his musical and political clout in addition to a strong youth base — is the actual challenger to Museveni’s throne.

“Bobi Wine poses an actual risk to Museveni, extra so in consideration that younger Ugandans, a lot of whom are unemployed, represent an enormous share of the lively citizens,” says Jimmy Spire Ssentongo, an Affiliate Dean at Uganda Martyrs College.

“Given the widespread public desperation in Uganda, all many individuals need is an individual who exhibits the potential of eradicating Museveni. All else is secondary,” he stated in an interview with The Conversation.
Pop star MP Bobi Wine charged with treason in Uganda

Earlier than he was Bobi Wine, the musician was often known as Robert Kyagulanyi. He grew up within the slums of Uganda, raised by a single mom, however turned to music as a manner out of grinding poverty.

His upbeat dancehall music fashion and catchy lyrics dominated airwaves and golf equipment throughout East Africa from the early 2000s.

Singing regularly in his native Luganda, the songs contained robust messages, typically railing in opposition to social injustice within the nation.

He known as on the citizenry to “stand up and lift their voices” to problem oppression.

“Do not shrink back from working for Uganda, as a result of it’s your personal nation, even when your boss was not your selection. Simply play your half, as a result of that is your nation,” he sang in one among his hits, “Situka.

With such politically acutely aware lyrics, a profession in politics was, maybe, inevitable.

In 2017, he stood for Parliament as an impartial, campaigning on the catchphrase: “Since Parliament has failed to return to the ghetto, then we will carry the ghetto to Parliament.”

He was elected by a landslide and has since proved to be a thorn in Museveni’s aspect, pitching his tent with opposition legislators and persevering with to make music, largely essential of the President’s long-term rule.

His reputation has not gone unnoticed by the federal government.

A few of his songs, together with “Freedom,” have been banned within the nation.

“See our leaders turn into misleaders,” Wine sang. “And see our mentors turn into tormentors. Freedom fighters turn into dictators. They give the impression of being upon the youth and say we’re destructors.”

Bobi Wine, 36, was a toddler when Museveni got here to energy.

A former protection minister, Museveni had fashioned a political get together that may go on to overthrow the brutal Idi Amin dictatorship in 1979.
Greater than 70% of the country’s present population was not yet born when he grew to become president.
Uganda has one of many youngest populations on the earth; greater than three-quarters of the country’s 35.6 million people are under the age of 30.
In keeping with the International Labor Organization, younger folks kind 83% of the unemployed in Uganda.

Many are annoyed and lengthy for alternatives that can elevate them out of poverty.

President for all times?

As soon as revered for unseating one among Africa’s most brutal leaders, Museveni himself now runs the chance of turning into a dictator.

He has changed the constitution twice to increase his keep in workplace. In 2005, legislators eliminated presidential time period limits to permit him to face for elections.

A invoice was additionally handed final 12 months eliminating constitutional limits on anybody serving as president previous the age of 75, paving the way in which for Museveni to turn into president for all times.

Uganda court upholds law that could allow Yoweri Museveni be president for life

When it was debated in Parliament, Wine joined opposition MPs to close down the legislation.

He stated in a Facebook post that it was time for Museveni to launch his agency grip over the nation.

“Ugandans made it clear way back that they’re against a life presidency,” he wrote. “They do not need the structure tampered with in any manner.”

Arguments in the course of the presidential age restrict debate descended into chaos as lawmakers exchanged punches and threw chairs at one another in Parliament.

The modification additionally sparked protests amongst college students and activists.


Wine has used his star energy and political workplace to provoke Uganda’s youth to take motion in opposition to unpopular insurance policies.

When the President launched a controversial social media tax earlier this 12 months, Wine led a protest march to Uganda’s Parliament to demand a assessment.
Nevertheless, he’s not with out controversy. In 2014, the pop star was compelled to cancel a UK tour after he was denied entry into Britain following protests from homosexual activists who accused him of selling homophobic lyrics, in response to the UK Guardian.

He later wrote: “I’m personally not out to threaten the lifetime of any particular person primarily based on their sexual orientation, I simply don’t agree with them (homosexuals),” he stated. “That is my opinion and occurs to be that of 99% of Ugandans,” the newspaper reported.

Following his arrest and alleged torture, Wine has gained international prominence and sparked a world protest motion.

The lawmaker was arrested on August 15 alongside opposition MPs after rioting broke out between rival events forward of an area parliamentary election.

Wine stated on Twitter that his driver was shot useless. Police stated Museveni’s automotive was attacked within the aftermath of the violence.

The general public has reacted to the current occasions with outrage and anger, most of it channeled by social media.

From Tokyo to Washington, activists and followers joined the #FreeBobiWine hashtag on-line and took to the streets to demand the singer’s launch.

Activists and civil society groups marched to the Ugandan embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, on August 23 to protest against Wine's detention.

Influential figures within the music business, together with Chris Martin, Angelique Kidjo, Damon Albarn and others, additionally joined the marketing campaign.

Hundreds of Kenyans marched to the nation’s Parliament and the Ugandan embassy in Nairobi at hand over a petition for the singer’s launch.

‘A brutal regime’

Kampala’s Mayor, Erias Lukwago, advised CNN Wine’s arrest has uncovered Museveni’s “brutal regime.”

“The extent of injustice in Uganda is an excessive amount of; this brutal regime needs to suppress opposing voices. However they need to know that Ugandans are indignant, and they’ll now not tolerate any type of oppression,” Lukwago, who can be on Wine’s authorized group, stated.

The singer, now going through treason costs, was taken into navy detention following his arrest. He posted a lengthy statement Monday detailing the bodily abuse he says he suffered by the hands of the navy throughout and after his arrest final month.

Wine, who’s in search of therapy in the USA, claims to have been crushed with an iron bar, punched, kicked, hit with pistol butts and had his ears pulled with “one thing like pliers.”

“After a while, I may nearly now not really feel the ache. I may solely hear what they have been doing from afar. My cries and pleas went unheeded. The issues they have been chatting with me all this whereas, I can not reproduce right here. So far, I can not perceive how these troopers who I in all probability had by no means met earlier than in individual may hate me a lot,” Wine says within the assertion.

Police spokesman Patrick Onyango advised CNN the allegations are being investigated.

“There are allegations — they’re alleging that they have been tortured by safety forces. There’s already a case file open to investigating their allegations of torture, so the allegations of torture has additionally to be confirmed by medical examinations. I can not consider what they’re saying until the medical personnel verify to us that they have been certainly tortured. Till the medical group from the federal government verify or confirms to us that they have been tortured that is once I can say they have been,” he stated.

Museveni additionally took to his weblog and social media to dismiss the torture allegations as “fake news.”

He accused Wine and the arrested MPs of intimidating voters.

“Anyone who’s a buddy of the younger politicians like Bobi Wine ought to advise them that shortcuts like dishonest, importing voters, intimidating the voters of the opposite aspect, poll stuffing… will lead them and Uganda to doom,” Museveni stated.

Clinging to energy

Whereas a lot of the developed world embraces the power of youth in management positions, it’s not typically the case in Africa.

From Uganda to Cameroon, most of the continent’s leaders are getting old and clinging to energy whereas their international locations battle to maintain tempo with international developments.

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe was forced to relinquish power in 2017 after 37 years of autocratic rule. The 94-year-old had dominated the nation since its independence in 1980.
Cameroon’s Paul Biya, 85, has been President since 1982 and plans to face once more for election in October, amid spiraling violence and alleged human rights abuses in the country.

It’s no marvel younger politicians like Wine entice a robust and constant following once they go up in opposition to these regimes.

However Wine is fast to reject notions that he’s a messianic determine who will topple Museveni’s long-standing regime.

As he places it in a current tweet: “I’ve stated it earlier than that any get together that tells you that it could single handedly liberate Uganda is a jocker (sic). For us to defeat President Museveni, it’s going to take multiple political get together, multiple tribe, multiple faith and sure, multiple era.”

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