Uganda seems to be on the forefront of global and African attention as the end of a long-serving ruler is near. A pop star has put Uganda on the map for change and political reforms. Uganda’s Kyadondon East MP, Robert Kyagulaiyi alias Bobi Wine is on the front row for change in government and the political system of Uganda and is the face of the government opposition.
The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni who has been in power since 1986 has, on one hand, been regarded as a dictator and on the other, a legitimate leader who has won 5 consecutive elections dating from 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 respectively. The age limit for the presidency will toll on him as the 74 years old president will be constitutionally unfit to run for power in the next upcoming election of 2021.
However, there is a bill to scrap the age limit of the presidency which will grant him the privilege of life presidency and also extend a tenure of 5 to 7 years. This bill has been met with opposition confrontation and popular disregard for such constitutional move. A three-month survey of the months of September, October and November reveal that a majority of 85% of the sampled population opposed the bill as against a minority of 15% in favour of it.
The Museveni led administration has always found a way to legitimize it dictatorship and authoritarianism within the confines of the constitution which is modifiable at the snap of it coercion without popular opinion or consultation. Thus to accomplish this feat, it is characterised for violation of human right, illegal detention of dissidents, cracking down of oppositions, obstructing and intercepting peaceful rallies, police brutality, internal insecurity and state-sponsored terrorism.
But for how long can the opposition be suppressed by this tyranny. The Uganda opposition is witnessing and experiencing fortification as time goes by and might gain a momentum not just indestructible but victorious in the nearest future.
Bobi Wine has become the face of Uganda opposition and the path to a new Uganda that beckons. Long before he was elected a member of parliament, he was often referred to as the ghetto president of Uganda. Music has been his weapon which he used to fight the life-serving ‘democratic’ president, Yoweri Museveni which has transcended from the studio to the street.
It has without a doubt, become a powerful tool that an attempt was made on his life which unfortunately led to the death of his driver, Kawuma by Uganda security forces likely as a result of mistaken identity at the Arua municipality when an election rally was held. Bobi Wine and his followers allegedly barricaded and pelted stones at the president’s motorcade which led to his arrest alongside 33 others.
The loyalty and charisma he has earned coupled with the first-hand brutality received from the government speak the language of the African youth. A resonates of the ideals and struggles of the black president and pioneer of Afro-beat, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. There isn’t any distinction as such between his political activism and musical lyricism. This feat is a phobia and scares for the government which has made several attempts to ban his concert.
Bobi Wine is a political figure of the younger Ugandan generations(U-35) which makes up 80% of the population and are tired of the ‘sit-tightism’ of President Yoweri Museveni. He is likely the last straw to break the camel’s back. His growing strength and popularity will likely draw from being a victim of Museveni terrorism. He is no doubt, the face of the opposition, ever since his detention, Uganda has called global attention.
In detention, he was beaten and brutalised which the administration claimed to be ‘false news’ which was countered otherwise by the Uganda Deputy Speaker, Mr Jacob Oulanya who confirmed the torture. The detention may have weakened Bobi Wine but has strengthened the opposition. The ghetto president has been flown to the United State for specialised treatment. There is no way he could afford to be treated in Uganda for fear of his life but the struggle continues.
At the first press conference in the United State, he made it clear that it isn’t all about him but the struggle and he is just an equal individual amongst many fighting. Like Fela said, ‘Music is the weapon’ and these times has proven so again. This might just tell how much responsibility African music has to play in the emancipation and development of Africa.
In all, fear lingers among Ugandans since his contact with the West for imperialism and external influence in a new era. Only time will tell.