Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Presidential candidate Bobi Wine thanks Jamaicans for support as Uganda votes today - Singer shouts out Buju, Tony Rebel, Capleton

Published:Thursday | January 14, 2021 | 12:09 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Bobi Wine performs at Rebel Salute in January 2020.
Bobi Wine performs at Rebel Salute in January 2020.
Uganda activist/entertainer Bobi Wine.
Uganda activist/entertainer Bobi Wine.
Boswell ‘Stampede’ Lammie.
Boswell ‘Stampede’ Lammie.
Ugandan pop star and opposition figure Bobi Wine greets his followers as he arrives home after being released from prison on bail in Kampala, Uganda, Thursday, May 2, 2019. Wine was freed on bail Thursday after spending three nights in a maximum-security p
Ugandan pop star and opposition figure Bobi Wine greets his followers as he arrives home after being released from prison on bail in Kampala, Uganda, Thursday, May 2, 2019. Wine was freed on bail Thursday after spending three nights in a maximum-security prison after being charged with disobeying statutory authority and facing trial over staging a street protest in July against a tax on social media.
Tony Rebel
Tony Rebel
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Ugandan pop star-turned-politician Robert ‘Bobi Wine’ Kyagulanyi is scheduled to give the greatest performance of his life today, as Ugandans go to the polls to choose their president, and he is urging Jamaicans to continue showing their support for him. Bobi Wine, who last year this time was making plans to be in Jamaica for reggae festival, Rebel Salute, despite several arrests by the police, is today waiting to hear if he will be declared winner of the elections and be named the next president of Uganda, ousting Yoweri Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.

In a statement to The Gleaner, he said, “I want Jamaicans to keep supporting me and I thank them for all the support that they have already given me. Big up to Buju Banton, Tony Rebel, Capleton, Anthony B, Vincenzo and the Jamaican media.”

Bobi Wine, who is seen as the main challenger to the 76-year-old president, and who is exactly half Musevini’s age, told Kenyan radio station Hot 96 FM on Tuesday that he has been “jailed, detained, beaten and shot at more times than [he] can count”. ABC News notes that he has hopes of ushering in the first-ever peaceful transfer of power in modern Ugandan history. But the days, weeks and months leading up to the vote have been marred by protests and violence, with authorities periodically arresting Wine, his campaign team and supporters. “We are not allowed to express ourselves. And we are saying enough is enough,” Wine told the station.

The ABC report further stated that a few minutes into Tuesday’s interview with Hot 96 FM, “a commotion could be heard in the background as Wine explained that the Ugandan military had showed up at his home in the capital, Kampala”.

“I’m sorry, even right now as we speak, we are being raided by the military. I have to end the interview because I can see soldiers beating my security guard,” he said before hanging up the phone.

Wine confirmed the raid on Twitter, saying soldiers “arrested all my security guards and anyone they could see around my premises”.

“No reason for the arrest was given,” he tweeted. “Such acts of impunity are all kicks of a dying horse.”

In an interview with The Gleaner last year January, a few days before Rebel Salute, festival organiser Tony Rebel said, “It’s normal for him [Bobi Wine] to be arrested. We are looking forward to hearing what he has to say when he comes to Jamaica this time around. Who knows, next time we see him, he may even be president of Uganda.”

POPULAR DEMAND

Bobi Wine performed at Rebel Salute in 2019 and was back by popular demand in 2020.“When we brought him in 2019, nobody knew him, but by the end of his set, he got a standing ovation. He used the Rebel Salute platform to talk to his people and they listened. His performance had the highest number of views for the night,” Tony Rebel said at the time.

Bobi Wine’s long-time friend in Jamaica, music chart compiler, Boswell ‘Stampede’ Lammie, is confident of Bobi Wine coming out victorious. “In the Ugandan election, Bobi Wine has 75 per cent of the youths on his side, so I know that it is an easy victory. But note that the president in power doesn’t want to lose the election so he will be doing all sort of things to win. But I know that Bobi Wine will be the next president of Uganda,” Lammie said.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Uganda has banned social media and beefed up security in the capital, two days ahead of the election. In a television address on Tuesday evening, Musevini, who took power in 1986, apologised for the inconvenience caused by the ban on social media and messaging apps, but he said Uganda had no choice after Facebook took down some accounts which backed his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

“If you want to take sides against the NRM, then that group should not operate in Uganda. We cannot tolerate this arrogance of anybody coming to decide for us who is good and who is bad,” he is quoted as saying.

The International Press Institute, a global media watchdog, has called on Uganda to reinstate social media networks.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com