Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, attends the launch of the National Unity Platform in Kampala, Uganda, July 22, 2020. (Photo by Halima Athumani/VOA)
Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, attends the launch of the National Unity Platform in Kampala, Uganda, July 22, 2020. (Photo by Halima Athumani/VOA)

KAMPALA, UGANDA - Ugandan musician-turned-opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi has officially launched a political party for his People Power Movement to run in next year's election.  The National Unity Party plans to field Kyagulanyi, known by his stage name Bobi Wine, for the presidency. 

After three years of working under the banner of the People Power Movement, Bobi Wine on Wednesday launched a political wing named the National Unity Platform.

Members of the National Unity Platform at the launch of the People Power Movement's political wing led by Robert Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine, Kampala, July 22, 2020. (Photo by Halima Athumani/VOA)

Wine says this comes after countless failed attempts to register the People Power Movement as a political party.

“We are unveiling the National Unity Platform as the political wing of the People Power Movement," Kyagulanyi said. "(Applause) The National Unity Platform is a duly registered organization with the Electoral Commission and the symbol is the umbrella. We have no plans of establishing a military wing.  Our military wing is the People Power Movement, and our weapons are our words and our ideas, not arms of destruction and violence.”

Since the formation of the People Power Movement three years ago, a number of legislators, including members of the ruling National Resistance Movement and opposition Forum for Democratic Change, have allied with People Power.

Last week, President Yoweri Museveni met some of his party members who had allied with Wine’s movement, and they apologized for straying from the party.

FILE - Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is sworn in for another term at Kololo Airstrip in the capital city Kampala, May 12, 2011

Nambeshe John, a member of the ruling party who allied with PPM and did not attend the meeting, says he is happy PPM now has a political wing that will enable him to stand for the next general elections.

“We have been labeled rebels just because of the removal of the presidential age limit, when we voted against it. Moreover, that was a decision of the people," Nambeshe said. "So, I am not one who is about again to go into a marriage with NRM, despite the huge resources they have, despite the power they have.”

Political analyst Mathias Mpuuga says the formation of the National Unity Platform is a whole new start for politicians.

“It is now going to give confidence to the fence-sitters to finally make a decision whether they are going to follow their old conflicted political groupings or they are going to finally make a decision and make a tough choice to work with people power either directly as members of the organization or in memoranda," Mpuuga said.

NRM spokesman Rogers Mulindwa says the formation of a political wing by People Power is no threat to them.

“People Power is not a threat to the NRM," Mulindwa said. "And I really wonder why politicians or mature reasoning would really say we are going to pick (nominations) forms from People Power, because they don’t have the structures. It’s more of a movement on media, but at the grassroots, they are not there.”

Currently, all political parties in Uganda are carrying out nominations for party primary elections ahead of the 2021 general elections. 

Wine is being viewed as one of the top contenders against Museveni who picked up his nomination forms on Monday.