With Bobi Wine, people power could finally win in Uganda

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Robert Kyagulanyi, a.k.a Bobi Wine.

We Are Fighting for Freedom is the unofficial anthem of Kamwokya, a slum in Kampala, Uganda, where the musician-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu – whose stage name is Bobi Wine – grew up. Kyagulanyi released the song to express his anger at attempts to amend the constitution to give President Yoweri Museveni yet another term in office, after 32 years in power. The song can be heard through torn curtains and across open sewers, mixing potently with the resolute words Free Bobi, which are sprayed across fragile walls.

The government is terrified of Kyagulanyi. It has clobbered his supporters and journalists, and even imposed an electricity blackout as he was due to appear on Voice of America. The money it has tried to use to bribe Kyagulanyi’s young supporters from the ghettoes, called the “people power” movement, betrays its desperation. It lends credence to the idea that Kyagulanyi is on to something bigger than he realises.

In August, he was arrested after his driver, Yasin Kawuma, was shot dead during a local election. The government had been restless over Kyagulanyi’s ability to turn the tide of an election. Every candidate he endorses wins. After his arrest a military court charged him with unlawful possession of firearms, and the military paraded guns and tried to convince Ugandans the weapons had been found in his hotel room. When it became clear the story didn’t add up, the charges were dropped and, emaciated and limping, he was released, after weeks in a military prison. He was handed over to police, charged with treason and held in a civil prison.

His arrest won him international sympathy and put him in the ranks of young Africans challenging the old guard’s hold on power – alongside Rwanda’s Diane Rwigara, who at 38 has stood up to Paul Kagame’s presidency, as well as opposition leaders in South Africa and Zimbabwe. After pressure from social media activists, diplomatic missions and civil society organisations, Kyagulanyi was released on bail after nearly a month.

Please see The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/04/bobi-wine-people-p...

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