How the ‘Ghetto President’ Upstaged the Real President

Robert Kyagulanyi cannot remember the day that Yoweri Museveni was first inaugurated as president of Uganda. It was 33 years ago, and he was just three.

Writing in the Mail & Guardian, journalist Simon Allison writes that Bobi Wine has become “perhaps the most serious threat to the president’s efforts to further extend his residence in State House.”

In 2016, when most of his peers had been co-opted into singing a campaign song in support of Museveni, Wine released a track called ‘Dembe’ that took aim directly at the president.

Lwaki temulabira ku Mandela (Why don’t you borrow a leaf from Mandela)

Yafuga kimu n’ata bendera (He ruled a short period and surrendered power)

Abakulembeze okulwa mu ntebe (Leaders who overstay in power)

Ky’ekireetera Uganda okufuuka eddebe (Is the reason why Uganda is rumbling)

In April that year, Wine entered politics in earnest. He chopped off his dreads, bought himself a few well-fitting suits, and contested the vacant parliamentary seat in Kyaddondo East, a Kampala constituency. Running as an independent, he won convincingly, seeing off candidates from both the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the main opposition, the Forum for Democratic Change.

“Unlike his colleagues that sing about women, he was doing that kind of music with political messages. So when he got his message out of the music and into the political rallies, we started seeing a new politician coming onto the scene,” said Sadab Kitatta, a journalist at the Uganda Observer, who has charted Wine’s rise to prominence.

Read the full article in the Mail & Guardian.