Bobi Wine has rattled the entrenched political establishment in Uganda, and for that he has received gruesome and horrendous treatment at the hands of the Ugandan regime.
Using the sheer power of entertainment, and galvanizing a solid message of revolution among the young population, Bobi Wine has been a thorn in the flesh for the regime. Bobi Wine is easily the voice of the voiceless, the ghetto president, the king maker, the one who gives power to the weak. Well, much like that.
Robert Kyagulanyi (Wine’s real name) makes the government terrified of the voice of the people. The government 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.
The government arrested Bobi Wine on trumped up charges, something that won him sympathy in the international community. The brutality he suffered at the hands of the Ugandan soldiers is too much for any human to bear. He went through the most. His driver was assassinated. Many of his supporters and fellow opposition politicians received the same treatment.
Three-quarters of Uganda’s population are under 35. Kamwokya’s residents support 36-year-old Kyagulanyi because he is, like them, young, hungry and angry that the only president they have known is Museveni, 74. They realise the man they sang nursery rhymes in praise of is not indispensable, and that their poverty is not inevitable. Kyagulanyi’s journey from the ghetto to Magere – a middle-class area of Kampala – is an inspiration.
Unlike previous opposition leaders, Kyagulanyi does not have links to the establishment or a military background. His wealth, unlike that of most of Uganda’s rich, is traceable. He was born in the ghetto: a life of crime and drugs beckoned. But, through music, he rose above it, made money and changed his life. So when he talks about transformation, his supporters believe he can do for the nation what he did for himself.
Will Bobi Wine mount a very strong challenge to Museveni that will completely change public opinion towards the latter? The mercilessness of the regime makes a lot cower into submission. As long as the army is there, dreaming of change in Uganda is an extremely uphill and arduous task.
With information from The Guardian