KAMPALA, UGANDA - As Uganda marked its 57th Independence Day celebrations, legislator Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, woke up to the reality that he is not free to hold concerts in Uganda.
Kyagulanyi found police heavily deployed around his home and One Love Beach on the outskirts of Kampala.
The musician-turned-politician was meant to hold a concert to release his latest song, "It's Possible.” But police say they carried out preventive arrest measures to ensure Wine doesn’t hold the concert.
Uganda Police Deputy spokesman Patrick Onyango says Wine was informed he hadn't made adequate preparations for the performance.
“He fulfilled almost everything, but he left out three key components, which are: 1. The medical care plan," said Onyango. "2. The traffic control plan. 3. Firefighting equipment plan and crowd control — how many stewards was he supposed to provide to police to help in providing security?"
In the past weeks, President Yoweri Museveni has not only endorsed concerts held by musicians who support him, but also attended the concerts.
In a Facebook post, Wine said this is his 156th concert that has been blocked by the government. He urged Museveni to compete fairly when it comes to music.
Joel Ssenyonyi, spokesperson of the People Power resistance movement led by Wine, sees a political motivation for the canceled performance.
“It's with President Museveni, who is very fearful of People Power, because the wave has come to sweep him. And so, he is extremely afraid, and he will keep pressing the panic buttons. Because you see, (the) police was saying that look, yesterday they said that we don’t have enough manpower to deploy at Busaabala to safeguard revelers," said Ssenyonyi. "But then, we saw how heavily they deployed at Busaabala, how heavily they deployed at Honorable Kyagulanyi’s house to curtail him from coming out.”
A few of Wine's supporters battled police the city center. Wine eluded security forces and was reportedly riding a motorcycle to rally his supporters, who police had dispersed with tear gas.
Ssenyonyi was asked to describe the song Wine intended to release.
“It is possible that we can rise up from the doldrums with which we are," said Ssenyonyi. "It is possible that we can see a smooth transition of power. It is possible that we can see a betterment of our country in terms of government , justice, service delivery. But even at an individual level that you are grappling with many different things, that is it possible for you to rise again.”
The police insist their actions are not political and that Wine must fulfill concert guidelines before he is allowed to hold a concert.