An article in Quartz Africa laments the use of old methods of repression against Uganda’s increasingly engaged youth. Considered a standard-bearer for the country’s future, 36-year-old Bobi Wine has become an unfortunate example of the lengths Uganda’s old guard will go to to maintain its unrelenting grip on power.
Bobi Wine has always been able to pull a big crowd, but this week his popularity with his fans has led to clashes with police.
One person was killed and five others were wounded yesterday (Aug. 20) when supporters protested for the release of the popular musician turned member of parliament. The demonstrators, mostly young Ugandans, are said to have chanted “people power, our power.”
The 36-year-old embarrassed the government in October when he exposed that lawmakers were bribed for their support in scrapping age limits for the presidency. Wine said he received 29 million Ugandan shillings ($8,000) and asked his bank to return it to the sender before exposing the corruption on social media.
In June, he came out strongly against Uganda’s new social media tax and urged young people in the region to speak out against increasing internet crackdowns in the region.
Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, remains in detention in a military barracks as the hashtag #FreeBobiWine gains popularity. He was arrested last week after his supporters clashed with those of president Yoweri Museveni. Wine appeared in a military court on Thursday, showing what supporters called signs of torture. More than 30 people were arrested but the rest all appeared in civilian court.
Museveni dismissed news of Wine’s injuries as “fake news,” referring to Wine as an “indisciplined [SIC] grandson.”