Can Bobi Wine Change the Government as he has Changed the Opposition?
By: Denis Kayongo. Just three weeks into his official campaign for the Ugandan presidency, Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has already been arrested twice.
The Ugandan musician and parliamentarian Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has already been arrested twice. The first came just minutes after his formal nomination in the capital Kampala.
Kygulanyi was arrested again while campaigning in Luuka district last week. Protests in a number of Ugandan cities have since broken out and most of other opposition presidential candidates suspended their campaigns until he was released. At least 49 people have been killed in those protests, which already makes this election bloodier than the last one in 2016.
The official reason for both of these arrests was that the police had evidence that Bobi Wine was planning illegal rallies with numbers exceeding Covid-19 restrictions.
This is not the first time that Bobi Wine has clashed with the police. His 2018 arrest made headlines when he and other politicians were severely beaten in custody and his driver was shot dead by police.
t is also highly unlikely that this latest arrest will be Bibi Wine’s last before the January 2021 poll. As has been seen in the past, Uganda’s campaign periods are routinely marred by acts of state intimidation and pressure against opposition candidates and their supporters.
Bobi Wine’s confrontational and defiant approach suggests that more pressure from security forces is inevitable. While this much is predictable, the Wine candidacy still raises a number of questions that are difficult to answer.