Kampala, Uganda | AFP & URN | Amnesty International has said that the incarceration of Kyadondo East legislator, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine is an attempt to silence any form of dissent.
The organisation’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Seif Magango said in a statement released Tuesday that the Uganda government’s harassment of the pop-star turned politician is indicative of misuse of law.
“The Ugandan authorities must immediately free Bobi Wine and stop misusing the law in a shameless attempt to silence him for criticizing the government,” Magango said
“It is not a crime for Bobi Wine to hold a concert or organize a protest; it is a right enshrined in Ugandan and international law. The authorities must respect and uphold Bobi Wine’s right to liberty, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”
Bobi Wine was arrested on Monday, charged with a 2018 offence of unlawfully mobilising people to resist payment of OTT and mobile money tax and remanded to Luzira until Thursday, May 2, 2019.
He had been summoned to CID headquarters, Kibuli but Police fired teargas to disperse hundreds of excited people-walking and riding motorcycles or driving who were accompanying the legislator.
The security versus Bobi Wine stalemate was caused by cancellation of the latter’s Easter Monday music concert. Bobi Wine responded by announcing that he would protest which prompted security to lock him at home for two days.
Asuman Mugenyi, the Director of Operations Uganda Police Force argued that Bobi Wine’s show was blocked because previous music concerts held at his One Love Beach fell short of security guidelines.
Mugenyi further claimed that Bobi Wine shows have severally turned into a public nuisance, violated traffic rules and regulations and caused other misconduct, which don’t only breach law but endanger the lives of other people who are not even part of his music events.
Uganda police clash with supporters of pop star opposition MP
Ugandan police fired teargas and rubber bullets at scores of demonstrators who took to the streets Tuesday to protest the arrest of anti-government pop star turned MP Bobi Wine.
Crowds of people held rallies in several suburbs of Kampala a day after the latest arrest of the politician, according to an AFP reporter.
“There are clashes between the police and youths who threw stones at the advancing police, a number of people have been injured and we took some to Mulago” hospital,” Kampala Red Cross Manager, Praise Turyebwa told AFP.
In a statement, the Uganda police said there was a minor incident “where undisciplined youths tried to demonstrate” but that the situation had been brought under control.
Local television stations showed images of fires being lit in the middle of major roads, causing traffic jams around the Ugandan capital.
Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was arrested Monday, barely two days after briefly being placed under house arrest after being detained on his way to a concert at his nightclub.
One of his lawyers told AFP he had been remanded to prison until May 2, over an allegedly illegal protest in 2018.
Amnesty International on Tuesday called for his immediate release.
The singer, who entered parliament in 2017 and has emerged as a leading critic of President Yoweri Museveni, has struck a chord with young Ugandans with his songs about social justice.
Authorities have repeatedly blocked him from performing publicly.
One of Wine’s songs contains the lyric “freedom fighters become dictators,” while others hint that Museveni has stayed in power too long.
The 74-year-old leader has ruled Uganda since seizing power at the head of a rebel army in 1986. He intends to stand for re-election to a sixth term in office in 2021