In mid-August, the popular Ugandan MP Robert Kyagulanyi, otherwise known as Bobi Wine, was arrested, beaten and detained over dubious allegations of treason. In the weeks since his arrest, Bobi’s experience has transcended the confines of that horrific Arua night and catalyzed a series of pro-democracy demonstrations and an outpouring of support for Bobi’s struggle in Uganda and beyond.
Since arriving in Washington this week, the Ugandan politician has spent his time tending to his health and his cause with the help of his friends and sympathizers in the United States.
Early in the week, Bobi met and spoke with United States Congressman Brad Sherman from California while in Washington. As an outspoken and consistent advocate for global human rights himself, the Congressman from California began advocating on behalf of his Ugandan counterpart well before his arrival in D.C.
On August 23rd, Representative Sherman sent a letter to Ambassador Mull Ssebuija Katende of Uganda urging him to release Bobi Wine and the other MPs that were victims of politically motivated arrests and beatings, and publicly announced his condemnation of the Ugandan government’s political maneuvering. Coming from the Office of a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, these words certainly resonate with anyone following Bobi Wine’s story.
What’s more is Representative Sherman’s vocal support has proved authentic, purposive and substantive. The Congressman took the time to meet with Bobi Wine in person this week, where they discussed the importance of civil liberties, due process and other integral elements of a fully functioning democratic society, areas in which Uganda is manifestly lacking.