Uganda: Presidential Aspirant Charged
Ugandan opposition MP Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as musician Bobi Wine, has been charged with intent to “annoy, alarm or ridicule” President Yoweri Museveni.
The charges relate to an incident last year in which Kyagulanyi was badly beaten and detained on treason charges following an altercation between opposition supporters and the presidential motorcade. Having denied the charges he was later freed on bail, travelling to the US for medical treatment before returning to Uganda to continue his political career. Since his return the authorities have banned a number of his concerts and planned appearances. He was also arrested in April of this year, charged with illegal assembly and procession relating to a street protest held in July 2018 opposing the introduction of a new social media tax. He was held at Luzira Maximum Security Prison after previously being placed house arrest on so-called preventive measures. Police claimed that they were concerned he could disrupt order following the cancellation of his scheduled concert. At the time Kyagulanyi has alleged that at least 124 shows where he has been scheduled to appear have been cancelled in recent months.
Kyagulanyi entered Parliament as the member for Kyadondo East two yeas ago and has since been on a collision course with the authorities. The 37 year old has described himself as the “ghetto president”, defending the interests of the poor. Last month the musician officially announced his intention to run for the presidency and challenge incumbent President Museveni in the 2021 elections.
President Museveni has been in power since 1986. At 74 years old, Museveni’s bid for a sixth term in office has been made possible after the constitution was amended by parliament last year in order to remove an age limit of 76 years for presidential candidates.
Kyagulanyi has held a number of talks with opposition politician Kizza Besigye regarding possible cooperation in the upcoming polls. Besigye has been the major candidate to challenge Museveni in the past three elections.