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Uganda Opposition Figure Bobi Wine Releases COVID-19 Awareness Song

FILE - Ugandan presidential hopeful and political activist Bobi Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, raises his fist in the air to gathered supporters as he leaves after meeting with the Electoral Commission, in Kampala, Uganda, Jan. 9, 2020.

In Uganda, authorities have confirmed five new cases of COVID-19, among them an eight-month-old baby and two Chinese nationals who left their quarantine. Ugandan officials are trying to raise awareness of the coronavirus, including one well-known opposition lawmaker who, not surprisingly, issued his warning in song.

Legislator and musician Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, is attempting to spread awareness of the deadly coronavirus.

His musical message: everyone is a potential victim, everyone is a potential solution, and do not underestimate the danger.

Like a majority of Ugandans and others around the world, Wine is staying indoors with his family and he tells VOA, it’s not easy.

“Well, like everybody else, am struggling, laughs," said Kyagulanyi. "Because it’s not very easy to have kids home when you’re not earning especially in our Uganda where it is mainly from hand to mouth. But we try to manage under the circumstances.”

In the last two weeks, President Yoweri Museveni has addressed the nation four times through the national broadcaster, urging people to stay indoors, keep social distance and wash their hands to keep the virus at bay.

Wine tells VOA, this is the time especially for musicians like him to use their talents for humanity.

“We must use all the tools that we have to communicate," said Kyagulanyi. "Music is a very powerful means of communication and it’s not only communication but it also deals with matters of stress with different people out there who are confined, who are self-quarantined."

A general view shows St. Paul’s Cathederal in Namirembe hill, amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kampala, Uganda, March 22, 2020.
A general view shows St. Paul’s Cathederal in Namirembe hill, amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kampala, Uganda, March 22, 2020.

Uganda has so far registered 14 cases of COVID-19. Most of them had traveled recently.

Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the director of general health services in the Ministry of Health, said the cases include a 63-year-old man who traveled from Germany and a 57-year-old man dealing in the salt trade at the Uganda-South Sudan border.

“The third case is actually an eight-month-old baby, a Ugandan, whose father travelled from Kisumu in Kenya about a week earlier," said Mwebesa. "The two other cases were two Chinese who traveled from Guangzhou and Linyang who have been currently under quarantine. They are part of six Chinese, I think somehow they escaped out of quarantine and tried to cross to DRC via Zombo district.”

To date, a total of 2,261 travelers, including Ugandans, have been identified as potential risks and are under quarantine.

All of Uganda’s first eight COVID-19 case patients are reported to be in stable condition.

Meanwhile, Bobi Wine reminds Ugandans to be aware of the danger.

“The Coronavirus is sweeping over mankind, everybody must be alert. It’s a global pandemic we cannot afford to ignore you better watch for yourself. Yes man, this is Bobi Wine himself. Watch out for the coronavirus, you can be a very important in stopping the spread of the coronavirus," he sings.

For now, as more Ugandans adapt to their new, isolated lifestyles, they at least have a song that gives them courage to hold on.