Q: where is Muhoozi when scores of Uganda’s youths are murdered by police
By Moses Ssejjoba
First Son Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba has issued an order to police to protect local musician Bebe Cool following a spate of incidents in which the latter has been pelted with empty bottles while on stage performing. The latest happened this past weekend while Bebe Cool performed at Lugogo Cricket Oval at a concert organized by popular songbird Cindy.
“How could Police and the bouncers at Cindy’s Concert allow a few hooligans to hurl bottles at one of Uganda’s greatest artists?” said a furious Muhoozi, who is a senior advisor to his father Museveni on security matters.
The irate Muhoozi, someone that himself has a reputation as a “nightclub man”, drew the conclusion that Bebe Cool, real name Moses Ssali, is being “victimized” for supporting Museveni. Gen. Kainerugaba then sternly ordered the police to ensure throwing bottles at Ssali “never happens again”. Where Muhoozi, a general in the military, gets the mandate to order the police around is a topic for another day.
The water bottle-throwing incidents follow continued refusal by the state apparatus, i.e. the Museveni regime, to let Bebe Cool’s musical nemesis, MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka the People’s Representative, to perform for two years now.
At least 100 concerts for Bobi Wine have been cancelled across the country in that time, effectively denying the MP an income. They have gone to lengths to concoct excuses – “disturbing public order”; “illegal public gathering” and so on – to justify their acts. Every Ugandan knows the real reason is Wine’s threat to Museveni as a political rival.
Kyagulanyi and his People Power movement has vowed to uproot Museveni’s regime of 35 years.
Besides Bobi Wine’s concerts, all his gatherings have been outlawed. That has included his consultations with the electorate ahead of the presidential elections, as mandated by the electoral code.
However, the latest pronouncement by Muhoozi has infuriated many Ugandans, asking where he has been when more serious crimes have been committed by police, against Wine and People Power supporters.
“With all due respect General, I wish you could also task Police about Bobi’s blocked concerts and consultations; and the reports of many youths being held incommunicado (by police and other security agencies) just for supporting him,” said famous sports journalist Patrick Kanyomozi via Twitter. He then added: “RIP Yasin Kawuma, Sweet Pepsi, Dan Kyeyune, Rita Nabukenya”, in reference to the different People Power supporters who have been killed in cold blood by security agencies over the past couple of years.
“How come Muhoozi never condemned or even ordered action over such assassinations?” Many enraged Ugandans have come out to question.
There has been disagreements about the veracity of the reports about reports of the bottle-throwing incidents, with many saying they are being staged by Bebe Cool, and other musicians who have declared support for Museveni.
“We know well this is a stunt they use to get more money from Museveni, by showing him that they endure a lot because they support him,” charged a Kampala-based music promoter. Others say that these are hooligans planted by the state with the aim to put the blame on People Power supporters, and by extension their leader Bobi Wine.
Collectively however, industry stakeholders put the blame entirely on Museveni for politicizing the country’s once-thriving music industry.
Faced with the growing popularity of Bobi Wine, a desperate Museveni has of recent shown uncharacteristic enthusiasm towards the music industry. As part of his favorite tactic of clientelism, Museveni has bribed musicians with billions of taxpayer money while many others have been appointed “advisors” – a sham title.
With the money come other benefits, like brand new SUVs for instance. “Crafty musicians have been jostling for these goodies and are staging these bottle-pelting incidents to milk even more from Museveni,” music promoters say.
“Whether this version is true or not, these incidents are bad for the industry and the blame is squarely on Museveni, who wrongly believes Bobi Wine’s growing popularity is due to his music,” added another industry expert.
Museveni is fighting a losing battle because, according to many, Bobi Wine’s popularity is because people see hope in him and because he has well articulated his message to the electorate, and to the aspirations of the masses fed up with decades of misrule.