His life was threatened and he has been charged with treason, but a Ugandan pop-star-turned-politician is on a mission to do what nobody else has handled for over 30 years toppled the president.
Robert Kyagulanyi, called the stage name Bobi Wine, has emerged as the largest danger to President Yoweri Museveni as a popular figure among nearly all the country’s people: the young, a third of whom are unemployed or not getting an education. His loose motion of fans from across the political split is proving to be a conundrum into Museveni, who has had little trouble previously routing conventional opposition parties.
“We all know that people power is more powerful than the men and women in power,” Kyagulanyi, 37, said in an interview in his house in the capital, Kampala. “We aren’t to this for formality. We’re into this to change our nation.”
Wearing his trademark red beret, Kyagulanyi along with his German Shepherd welcome guests to his house, about 15 km (9.3 miles) from central Kampala. Guests such as fellow musicians and lawmakers wait at a tent to meet up with him.
“President Idi Amin declared himself, he didn’t perish, president,” he explained. “Qaddafi was invincible. He didn’t die a president”
Museveni seized power in 1986, after decades of political upheaval such as Amin’s bloody dictatorship, and revived multiparty politics nearly 15 decades back. But in the past few years, advocacy groups such as Amnesty International say he presides over a deterioration from the East African country’s human-rights circumstance. Opposition leader Kizza Besigye has faced repeated arrest and beatings from the government from the run-up to elections within the last two decades.
Since Uganda’s 2021 general election approaches, there are indications that Museveni might be planning to intensify a clampdown on his competitors. The government increased its safety budget 75% annually to nearly $1 billion, to be spent on training and equipment.
‘Safety for All’
State Minister for Internal Affairs Obiga Mario Kania said it is not a fact that the government aims its opponents.
“Uganda secures all of its citizens,” he explained.
The police have detained Kyagulanyi many times in the last year. He has been charged with treason, following his fans allegedly threw stones in Museveni’s convoy, inciting violence and disobeying orders. This past year, Kyagulanyi received therapy at the U.S. for harms he stated were continuing while under arrest.
“President Museveni and his regime do not see their potency in persuasive folks any more; they view their potency at coercing,” Kyagulanyi stated Aug. 13. “Now is a year since the assassination attempt in my life. Since then a lot of individuals are detained. Others have vanished. Several have been murdered.”
Traditionally an agriculture-dependent state, Uganda is on the cusp of getting a petroleum manufacturer from areas owned by firms such as Tullow Oil Plc, Total SA and China’s Cnooc Ltd. The beginning of output was repeatedly postponed, and the last investment decision that was anticipated in 2018 has been postponed over distinct viewpoints on taxation between the authorities and the firms.
“Uganda’s slow movement in the petroleum industry isn’t slow from warning; we ought to have profited from the petroleum ” he explained. “The contradictions and scandals emanate from the fact that the country is under the hands of a single individual. It is not exactly the Ugandans that have Ugandan petroleum, but Museveni and his cabal.”
Under his rule, Kyagulanyi says he’d guarantee government institutions are placed at the forefront of negotiating and handling the petroleum business, together with other strategic national endeavors. Also, he envisages the authorities providing more aid for agriculture.
Any possibility of him winning another election will probably require stronger policy suggestions, together with potential alliances with other opposition leaders such as Besigye, stated Jared Jeffery, an analyst in Paarl, South Africa-based NKC Africa Economics.
“We’ve argued previously that he needs to formalize his People Power movement into a coherent organization which stands for more than deposing Mr. Museveni and also has a roadmap to achieving this.”
“Music is my first love and it’ll be the past, but this is a calling which I can not say,” he explained. “But it’ll be greater than a joy to return and do exactly what I used to appreciate especially at a no-cost Uganda. Whilst a former head of state, I’ll return to the point and will fire up the audience.”