An Independence Day that never was; the case of Hon. Kyagulanyi
By Moses Ssejjoba
On Wednesday, October 10, in Uganda we were supposed to be celebrating our country’s 57th Independence since we were rescued from the yoke of colonialism.
However, as President Museveni and his coterie of sycophants were in Sironko District to mark the day, Uganda’s celebrated musician-cum-politician, MP Robert Kyagulanyi was under an apparent “house arrest.” This is not how the politician, known to his music fans as Bobi Wine, had wished to celebrate the day that is held so dear by every Ugandan.
On the contrary, he was supposed to be at his One Love Beach in Busabala where he had organized an Independence Day musical show that had been booked by hundreds of thousands of Ugandans. The show, which was dubbed “Osobola” loosely translated to mean “you can!” had been brought to the attention of police well in advance, with the legislator and his team saying they wrote to police over two weeks back.
However, on the 11th hour, precisely on the night of Tuesday October 9th, police responded (in a letter back-dated to October 2) saying the show could not happen. According to police, the show was cancelled because the force could not find enough manpower to deploy at the venue of the said concert, to ensure the security of the revelers.
Apparently, this was because all the forces would be deployed in Sironko for the national celebrations.
No one could be fooled by this. It was obvious the forces of Museveni were once again denying Bobi Wine his right to play music at his concerts. This was the 156th consecutive show by the celebrated musician – who rose to fame through his uplifting music – that had been cancelled by police in just under two years.
Secondly, as was later corroborated by Kyagulanyi and different other commentators, including journalists, the force that was deployed at the legislator’s home in Magere, and at Busabala the venue of the botched show, was by far more than they needed to ensure security of the revelers.
“These are the same people who claimed not to have enough security for the show, yet they have enough manpower to instill fear, harass citizens and block the show!” said Kyagulanyi.
It didn’t stop there. Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga on the Eve of Independence Day let the cat out when he declared: “Hon. Kyagulanyi should heed the advice offered to him by President Museveni. To separate his music from politics!”
This is where political watchers say the police, which serves as Museveni’s violent instrument more than anything else, lost the plot.
“It is laughable that a police spokesperson, in a single press conference gives two contradicting statements; on one hand he says the show was stopped for logistical purposes, but then on the other he advises Kyagulanyi to stop politicizing his music,” said a Kampala commentator.
Museveni himself these days has, at the age of 75, suddenly “discovered” a passion for music, so much so that he just recently registered himself under the Uganda Musicians Association, as a musician! He has even copy-righted a stage name, “Sevo”!
This, according to analysts, is the latest lame, if comical attempt at countering Bobi Wine’s high popularity. “If he wants to compete with us musically, it should be fair play. Let the population decide who they want to listen to,” Kyagulanyi said in a news conference he addressed at his home in Magere, Wednesday afternoon.
Museveni has of recent picked such interest in the music industry that he spends nights in concerts organized by the aforementioned sycophants and praise-singers. He does this when at the same time unleashes his security apparatus to frustrate Bobi Wine, whose People Power Movement has fast gained countrywide support ahead of the 2021 general elections.
Kyagulanyi has declared his interest to stand for the presidency.
Despite all these obstacles, however, the People Power Movement – which currently enjoys enormous support across the demographic divide – a will not be cowed into submission, according to its spokesperson Joel Sennyonyi.
“All stumbling blocks thrown our way shall be overcome because no one has the power to subvert the will of the people. If anything this only energizes us to mobilise more,” he said.
Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come, added the former popular television journalist, who has since taken leave from his flourishing career to concentrate on the movement’s activities.