Bobi Wine on top of car at his home in Uganda.
Robert Kyagulanyi, a.k.a., Bobi Wine, was welcomed by a historic huge crowd at his home today outside Kampala, the Ugandan capital. The popular Member of Parliament and former Afrobeat music star was whisked in a white vehicle from Entebbe airport accompanied by police.
At his home Bobi Wine emerged and mounted on top of the vehicle with assistance. Supported on a cane he briefly addressed the massive crowd whose cheers of jubilation drowned out his words. Bobi Wine, who is 36, champions a “People Power” Movement, supported by the youth. About 80% of Uganda’s population of 40 million is under the age of 35 and unemployment is estimated as high as 85%.
The size of the crowds that cheered him was unprecedented. The MP returned to Uganda from the U.S. after undergoing treatment for injuries sustained when he was arrested and tortured by agents of the dreaded Special Forces Command (SFC) which reports to Gen. Muhoozi Kaenerugaba, son of the country’s dictator of 32 years Gen. Yoweri Museveni. Other Members of Parliament, a former MP and about 30 of their supporters were also arrested, beaten and tortured during the August 13 incident in the city of Arua. Bobi Wine’s driver Yasin Kawuma who had been seated on the front passenger’s seat of the MP’s car was shot dead by SFC agents. The MP said the bullets that killed Kawuma were likely intended for him. Seriously injured from torture also was MP Francis Zaake, now receiving treatment in India.
All, including Bobi Wine, face treason charges. Dictator Museveni claimed they had incited crowds to throw stones at his vehicle. Bobi Wine and the other opposition supporters had gone to Arua to support an opposition candidate Kasiano Wadri in a by-election for a Parliamentary seat. Wadri defeated the candidate of Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) ruling party dictatorship.
Last week the European Union (EU) after a Parliamentary debate condemned the Arua atrocities unleashed by Museveni and issued a statement that henceforth development assistance would be conditioned on respect for democracy, human rights, and the freedom of expression and of assembly. This week a bi-partisan group of five U.S. senators –Chris Coons, Jeff Flake, Cory Booker, Ben Cardin, and Marco Rubio– also condemned the Arua atrocities. As with the EU they also called for an investigation into Kawuma’s murder.
The U.S. sends the Museveni regime annual financial and military support valued at more than $1 billion in taxpayers’ money. Bobi Wine, during his U.S. visit called on the U.S. to cut off military support since the arms are used to abuse civilians. Diaspora Ugandans have planned a massive protest to denounce the Museveni dictatorship and corruption on September 26 at 1PM outside the United Nations on 47th Street and 1st Avenue during the U.N. General Assembly.
Gen. Museveni and his foreign minister Sam Kutesa are implicated in an ongoing money-laundering-and-bribe case in U.S. District Court in New York.
(More reports to come)
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