Bobi Wine’s fight is not just for Uganda; it’s for the whole of East Africa, his fight is for the socially conscious artists, liberals, activists and believers. It’s for the young in leadership. It’s for everyone standing against tyranny and despotism. The Bobi Wine fight is for all of us.
We are furious
We won't be silent about our FURY
We shall wear Bobi's face until he is free
— Scheaffer Okore (@scheafferoo) August 20, 2018
Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi who also goes by the name Bobi Wine was arrested a while back by the Museveni Government due to claims that he had illegal possession of firearms and ammunition after he was involved in clashes with president Yoweri Museveni’s supporters. Later on he was charged with Treason and was detained.
Bobi Wine, who is one of the most influential/popular artists in East Africa, got into politics after he contested for the Kyadondo East African Parliamentary by-elections and emerged as the winner after amassing a massive sweep to victory garnering an overwhelming 25,659 votes out of about 32,000 votes cast. Bobi who stood as an independent ticket, defeated four other candidates, including President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s NRM candidate Sitenda Sebalu. Sebalu conceded defeat.
He has been known for his music especially his Anti-Museveni anthems where the Uganda’s communications commission banned his 2017 hit song ‘Freedom’ making it illegal to play both on Radio and Television.Throughout Uganda’s election period in 2015 and 2016, Wine refocused his messages to call for tolerance of different views. Wine’s public calls for calm activism during the 2016 election – with songs such as Dembe – provoked mixed reactions, from different political interests in Uganda.
The Ugandan Communications Commission denied, during the election period, that it had banned Dembe from the Ugandan media. Three months after the election, the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda invited Wine to a formal embassy event, and commented that he was a positive influence for local youth.
Following the 2016 election, Bobi released the song “Situka,” which challenges Ugandans to do something about corruption and injustice in their country. The song opens with the lines: “When the going gets tough, the tough must get going, especially when our Leaders have become Misleading and Mentors have become Tormentors. When freedom of expression is met with suppression and oppression.” A fan video for the song shows news footage of public protests and arrests of demonstrators and journalists.In the song he picked up many of the protests themes that first made him popular among Uganda’s youth.
When the Ugandan government turned of social media during the 2016 election, Bobi Wine used VPN to post about his defiance to the communications shut down on his Facebook page, while also pointing out that the government continued to use social media during the shut-down they initiated. Bobi Wine was later chosen as a panelist to speak about freedom of expression on World Press freedom Day in Kampala in May 2016. In March 2016, his fans were surprised to hear him defend the right of his artistic rivals to express views that Wine himself does not support.
Our reporters & cameramen who are covering the #FreeBobiWine protests have been arrested, their crime is telling the world that Ugandans are sick & tired of injustice. Looks like the madness of our leaders is immeasurable! #Journalismisnotacrime
— Joel Ssenyonyi (@JoelSsenyonyi) August 20, 2018
On his arrest Kyagulanyi had been campaigning in the northwestern town of Arua on behalf of the opposition candidate, Kassiano Wadri, in a by-election.President Museveni was also in Arua to support the ruling party candidate. Police said Kyagulanyi was arrested for obstructing the presidential motorcade, during which a windscreen was damaged on one of the official vehicles. The president was not in the convoy when it was attacked. In the ensuing scuffle, police fired live rounds in an attempt to disperse the crowd, killing Kyagulanyi’s driver, Yasin Kawuma. Three other politicians, among them opposition lawmaker Francis Zaake, and at least 34 others were also arrested after stones were thrown at the president’s convoy late on Monday in the same area, according to a police spokesman. A number of journalists covering the event were also arrested without clear cause.
UPDATE: Independent medical personnel who have had access to @hebobiwine say he has a damaged kidney,suffered immense internal bleeding and his head and hips require an immediate scan.
He will not be accessed by anyone again till Thursday when he is brought to military court
— Mujuni Raymond (@qataharraymond) August 18, 2018
After his arrest, protests sparked off on Thursday after news spread on his brutal arrest, torture and detention. Big names in the music Industry have been pouring out their appeals for authorities to free the singer/politician.
Tortured for his ideology
This arrest has especially been overshadowed by human rights violations including the torture bit of it. Family members, lawyers and activists who have had a chance to visit him say that he is in a terrible state. They say he cannot walk and he is having difficulties in speaking. Jose Chameleon, Juliana Kanyamozi, Octopizzo, Jaguar, A-pass and many other artists are behind the #FreeBobiwine. The hashtag has been trending and International bodies are also keen on this arrest.
As we continue to watch and pray for his safe return home to his family without anymore threats of tyranny and arrest, we hope that this revolution, this unstoppable revolution shall spread across the borders and free our nations from the oppression we have faced for far too long!