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Reggae singer Bobi Wine fears for his life - Says he won Uganda presidential elections

Says he won Uganda presidential elections

Published:Monday | January 18, 2021 | 12:13 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
The National Unity platform presidential candidate Bobi Wine addresses the media at his home in Magere, Uganda, last Friday. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged.
The National Unity platform presidential candidate Bobi Wine addresses the media at his home in Magere, Uganda, last Friday. Wine, a popular singer-turned-lawmaker half the president’s age, alleges that the vote in the East African country was rigged.
Bobi Wine performing at Rebel Salute 2019.
Bobi Wine performing at Rebel Salute 2019.
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While the music of reggae singer, Bobi Wine, is banned in his native Uganda and he is also not allowed to perform in the country, the artiste and politician is less concerned about that just now, as he fights for his life, while under house arrest.

Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, told The Gleaner that he is the real winner of last Thursday’s general election in Uganda, and that having survived three assassination attempts, he now fears for his life. The official results declared a win for General Yoweri Museveni, handing him a sixth consecutive term.

“I won. I am supposed to be the new president. What was announced is completely fraudulent. The government used the military to take over the Electoral Commission. The people elected me, we have the evidence in the form of declarations. We were using U-Vote to tally the results but there is a complete shutdown of the Internet. General Musevini took over all the radio and TV stations. Everything that uses Internet is shut down,” he said during a telephone interview with The Gleaner on Sunday from his home in Magere, Uganda.

Online reports are that the East African country of nearly 46 million people was under an Internet blackout after the communications regulator ordered telecoms operators to suspend services from Wednesday, the largest operator in Uganda reported.

The entertainer, whose song Tuliyambala Engule ( We Shall Wear the Victor’s Crown) has become one of unofficial anthems of the election campaign, says he wants the world to know that Uganda is under captivity. “Soldiers have surrounded my house and we are not allowed to leave and nobody is allowed to enter. My wife went out into our garden and she was ordered in by the soldiers. The military is picking up members of my party, more than 400 of them are now under military detention,” the presidential candidate said.

CONCERNS

According to the website africanews.com, the US, EU, UN and global rights and democracy groups have raised concerns about the integrity and transparency of the election. The United States, a major aid donor to Uganda, cancelled a diplomatic observer mission after too many of its staff were denied permission to monitor the election, and aside from an African Union mission there was no major international group watching over the vote.

The 38-year-old reggae star, who set his sights on the political arena in 2017, and who is known as the “ghetto president”, has performed in Jamaica at Rebel Salute in 2019 and 2020. He has established a world famous recording studio in the Kamwokya slum where he once lived, but he says his music is banned.

“My music is abolished. I am not allowed to perform anywhere. Anybody caught listening to my music is arrested. Four people were shot dead in Masaka because they were caught listening to my music. Nubian Lee [artiste] and 100 members of my campaign team are in prison and their only crime is being part of my campaign team,” Bobi Wine told The Gleaner.

Bobi Wine, 38, is said to be “channelling the anger of many young Ugandans who say former guerrilla leader Museveni, now 76, is an out-of-touch dictator failing to tackle unemployment and surging public debt”. Museveni, reports say, has labelled Bobi Wine an upstart.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com