Bobi Wine is certainly not the first opposition parliamentarian in Uganda to be targeted by the state. But he is, undoubtedly, unique. His political message – often broadcast through song – has made him a high profile voice of opposition politics in the young nation of Uganda. The self-described and fondly referred to “Ghetto President” of Uganda’s recent arrest, torture and detainment will only amplify his voice.
Mr Wine’s critics say he has no party, no ideas and that, until now, he has not experienced state brutality—a rite of passage for opposition politicians. Mr Museveni condescendingly calls him “our grandson, the indisciplined MP, Bobi Wine”. But the regime is rattled by him. By resorting to violence, the state only accelerates his transformation from weed-smoking celebrity to populist icon. “When leaders become misleaders,” he sings, “then opposition becomes our position.”