How Sevo neutralized ‘AIC’ sympathized Walk to Work Demos But now facing a New wave of Bobism threatening his Reign.

Special Edition

By E K Benj

On 11 April 2011 Uganda’s 4 time unsuccessful presidential contender Warren Kizza Besigye Kifefe (born 22 April 1956), nicknamed Colonel (in reference to his military rank before he left the Army), Daktari, Kifefe, KB, and Ssenyondo (“Big Hammer”) declared and began the first Walk to Work protest under a pressure group Activists for Change (A4C), which included the Forum for Democratic Change – FDC, the country’s main opposition party.

Dr. Besigye who was a personal physician to Uganda’s long serving President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and had joined the Bush war which brought Museveni in 1986 at the age of 29 was appointed Minister of State for Internal Affairs. He later held the positions of Minister of State in the President’s office and National Political Commissar. In 1991, he became commanding officer of the mechanised regiment in Masaka, central Uganda, and in 1993 was appointed the army’s chief of logistics and engineering.

Besigye  is married  to Winnie Byanyima (7th July 1999) a Ugandan aeronautical engineer, politician, and diplomat who is the executive director of UNAIDS, since November 2019 after leaving Oxfarm she served as Executive Director prior  to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) she had served also as the director of the Gender Team in the Bureau for Development Policy from 2006.

Besigye fell out with Museveni in 1999 when he wrote a document critical of the government, entitled “An Insider’s View of How the NRM Lost the Broad Base”. The document accused the NRM of becoming a sectarian kleptocracy and a one-man dictatorship. Besigye was charged before a court-martial for “airing his views in the wrong forum”. He later brokered a deal in 2000 in which the charges were dropped in exchange for an apology for publishing the document.

Between the Lines

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“Tomorrow MPs will say give us money so that we build roads and health centres in our constituencies. That’s not the role of an MP; each arm has to operate on its own.

And we told MPs that they were setting a trap for them, so you heard what Mr. Museveni said yesterday, he abandoned them in the trap set to MPs and they failed in it.  So that’s the challenge with this money…” Bobi Wine’s People Power Spokesman Joel Ssenyonyi in an interview with HICGI News Agency

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In October 2000, Besigye announced that he would run against Museveni in the 2001 elections. He retired from the Uganda People’s Defence Forces in 2001, having attained the rank of colonel. During his campaign, Besigye, who was Museveni’s strongest opponent, accused the government of widespread corruption and pushed for an end to Museveni’s “Movement” system, which he said had served its purpose as an instrument in Uganda’s political transition to multiparty democracy.

He lost the election, which was marred by claims of widespread vote rigging, violence and coercion of voters. In March 2001 Besigye petitioned the Supreme Court to nullify the election results. A panel of five judges voted 5-0 that there had been cheating but decided 3-2 not to annul the elections.

In June 2001, Besigye was briefly arrested and questioned by the police over allegations of treason. The government accused him of being behind a shadowy rebel group – the People’s Redemption Army (PRA) – allegedly based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Besigye’s supporters said the government had fabricated the existence of the insurgents to harm his credibility among Ugandans and the international community.

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In August 2001, Besigye fled the country, citing persecution by the state. He said he was afraid for his life. He lived in South Africa for four years, during which time he continued to criticise Museveni’s government. Besigye returned to Uganda on 26 October 2005, just in time to register as a voter in the 2006 elections. He was greeted by thousands and hit the campaign trail almost immediately, addressing throngs of supporters across the country. In November 2005, William Lacy Swing, the United Nations special envoy to the Great Lakes region, confirmed the existence of the PRA, naming it as one of the foreign, armed groups operating in the eastern DRC.

Besigye’s campaign came to an abrupt halt on 14 November when he was arrested on charges of treason and rape. The treason charges pertained to his alleged links to the PRA and the 20-year-old northern Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army rebellion. The rape charge related to a 1997 accusation by the daughter of a deceased friend. His arrest sparked riots in Kampala and around the country. Museveni was accused of trumping up charges against his main rival in an attempt to discredit Besigye or even prevent him from standing in the election. Both the local and international community came down heavily against Museveni’s administration, urging it to release Besigye on bail. The government reacted by banning all public rallies, demonstrations, assemblies or seminars related to the trial of Besigye. It further barred the media from discussing the trial, threatening media houses with the revocation of their licences should they refuse to heed the ban.

On 25 November, Uganda’s high court granted Besigye bail, but he was immediately sent back to jail on military charges of terrorism and the illegal possession of weapons. Besigye denied the charges against him and has argued that as a retiree from the armed forces, he should no longer be subject to an army court-martial. He was freed on bail by the high court on 6 January. Although the charges against him stand, Besigye continues to pursue his ambition to become the next president of Uganda.

In the 2011 elections Besigye for the third time in a row lost to his main challenger, the incumbent Yoweri Museveni with a sharp decline from previous polls, failing to win in a single region. Though the election was lauded as one of the most free and fair in Ugandan history, according to International observers,  Besigye  claimed that his challenger used intimidation and rigging to win a fourth term in office.

Following his poor performance in the 2011 presidential elections, Besigye directed his party members elected to the 9th parliament to boycott it. This was rejected by the newly elected MPs, claiming that the election victory was out of their personal effort and not Besigye’s or the Party, contributing to rising tensions within the FDC.

Besigye was arrested for a fourth time on 28 April, during a “walk-to-work” protest over the high prices of food and fuel. He was sprayed with pepper spray and dragged from his car by police. This was the catalyst for additional protests leading to riots across Kampala, in which at least two people were killed and 120 people wounded, leading to some 360 arrests.

Walk- to Work Protests

The Walk to Work protests occurred as a reaction to the high cost of living. The protests took place following presidential elections in February 2011, and involved several defeated opposition candidates. The protests were suppressed by the government of Yoweri Museveni, resulting in five deaths.

The first Walk to Work protest took place on 11 April 2011, Besigye had recently lost a presidential election against Yoweri Museveni in February 2011. The 11 April protest called on workers to walk to work to highlight the increased cost of transport in Uganda. In February 2011, Ugandan inflation was running at 11%.

The Walk to Work protest was organised in response to a comment by President Museveni on the increased cost of fuel, which had risen by 50% between January and April 2011. He said: “What I call on the public to do is to use fuel sparingly. Don’t drive to bars.”

The 11 April protest was disrupted by police, who fired tear gas and arrested Besigye and Democratic Party leader Norbert Mao.  In the course of the protest, Besigye was shot in the right arm by a rubber bullet. The government blamed the violence on protesters.

In response, on April 14, the protests spread to other Ugandan cities, including Gulu and Masaka, prompting further clashes between protesters and police. By 15 April, five people had been shot and killed by police, with dozens injured and hundreds arrested. Further protests took place on 21 and 29 April, resulting in four further deaths, 100 injuries and 600 arrests.  According to Human Rights Watch, none of those killed were actively involved in the protests.

HICGI News Agency has unconfirmed reports that following the Arab Spring, Uganda Opposition leaders were ignited by the events in Egypt, Tunisia, and other countries prompting them to write to by then United States President Barrack Hussein Obama to intervene and help on taking on Museveni. Different corners in Uganda’s security agencies we have reached confirm that these protests had a foreign hand in them.

The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s. It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, starting with protests in Tunisia (Noueihed, 2011; Maleki, 2011). The protests then spread to five other countries: Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain, where either the regime was toppled or major uprisings and social violence occurred, including riots, civil wars or insurgencies. Sustained street demonstrations took place in Morocco, Iraq, Algeria, Iranian Khuzestan, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Sudan. Minor protests occurred in Djibouti, Mauritania, the Palestinian National Authority, Saudi Arabia, and the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. A major slogan of the demonstrators in the Arab world is ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ an-niẓām (“the people want to bring down the regime”).

The importance of external factors versus internal factors to the protests’ spread and success is contested.  Social media is one way governments try to inhibit protests. In many countries, governments shut down certain sites or blocked Internet service entirely, especially in the times preceding a major rally. Governments also accused content creators of unrelated crimes or shutting down communication on specific sites or groups, such as Facebook.  In the news, social media has been heralded as the driving force behind the swift spread of revolution throughout the world, as new protests appear in response to success stories shared from those taking place in other countries.

The wave of initial revolutions and protests faded by mid-2012, as many Arab Spring demonstrations met with violent responses from authorities,  as well as from pro-government militias, counter-demonstrators and militaries. These attacks were answered with violence from protesters in some cases. Large-scale conflicts resulted: the Syrian Civil War; the Iraqi insurgency and the following civil war; the Egyptian Crisis, coup, and subsequent unrest and insurgency; the Libyan Civil War; and the Yemeni Crisis and following civil war. Regimes that lacked major oil wealth and hereditary succession arrangements were more likely to undergo regime change.

A power struggle continued after the immediate response to the Arab Spring. While leadership changed and regimes were held accountable, power vacuums opened across the Arab world. Ultimately it resulted in a contentious battle between a consolidation of power by religious elites and the growing support for democracy in many Muslim-majority states. The early hopes that these popular movements would end corruption, increase political participation, and bring about greater economic equity quickly collapsed in the wake of the counter-revolutionary moves by foreign state actors in Yemen,  the regional and international military interventions in Bahrain and Yemen, and the destructive civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

Some have referred to the succeeding and still ongoing conflicts as the Arab Winter. As of May 2018, only the uprising in Tunisia has resulted in a transition to constitutional democratic governance. Recent uprisings in Sudan and Algeria show that the conditions that started the Arab Spring are not going away and political movements against authoritarianism and exploitation are still occurring.

In 2019 multiple uprisings and protest movements in Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt have been seen as a continuation of the Arab Spring.

The term “Arab Spring” is an allusion to the Revolutions of 1848, which are sometimes referred to as the “Springtime of Nations” and the Prague Spring in 1968. In the aftermath of the Iraq War, it was used by various commentators and bloggers who anticipated a major Arab movement towards democratization.  The first specific use of the term Arab Spring as used to denote these events may have started with the American political journal Foreign Policy. Political scientist Marc Lynch described “Arab Spring” as “a term I may have unintentionally coined in a 6 January 2011 article” for Foreign Policy magazine. Joseph Massad on Al Jazeera said the term was “part of a US strategy of controlling [the movement’s] aims and goals” and directing it towards western-style liberal democracy. When Arab Spring protests in some countries were followed by electoral success for Islamist parties, some American pundits coined the terms “Islamist Spring” and “Islamist Winter”.

Some observers have also drawn comparisons between the Arab Spring movements and the Revolutions of 1989 (also known as the “Autumn of Nations”) that swept through Eastern Europe and the Second World, in terms of their scale and significance. Others, however, have pointed out that there are several key differences between the movements, such as the desired outcomes, the effectiveness of civil resistance, and the organizational role of Internet-based technologies in the Arab revolutions

Back in Uganda, Besigye and his group received external support to quash Museveni the legitimate leader. HICGI News Agency has reached to Dr. Besigye on these claims unfortunately no official response has been issued yet.

Regarding the Arab Spring sources we have contacted believe that major powers Intelligence Agencies were fully involved with logistic support, training, networking, coordinated operations to help opposition rise up against governments for strategic interests concealing in incompetence and dictatorship by incumbents.

HICGI News Agency has contacted Langley, McLean, Virginia, United States based Intelligence Agency to comment on the subject but by Press times no answer has been availed yet  however reports have it that such agency has aided drowning down of governments and regimes in several parts of the world including Latin America, Africa and other places.

In Uganda, President Museveni faced criticism over Purchase of fighter jets. The tense standoff that ensued and resulted in Besigye getting shot in the right hand – as supporters who were dispersed by police amid plumes of tear gas joined him – shows no sign of easing and had led to more protests.

“It is not hard to see the source of the discontent” cited Aljazeera and pointed that the government was planning to buy eight fighter jets for $740m when its people cannot afford food. Government officials justified this spending by saying Uganda needs to beef up its defence systems, if it is to protect its newfound oil near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

To add insult to injury, $1.3m would be splashed out on a swearing-in ceremony for President Yoweri Museveni, who won re-election in February. Several heads of state had been invited to grace what promised to be a colourful ceremony.

President Museveni won re-election in February and was planning to splash out $1.3m on his inauguration [EPA]

Sounding ever so defiant, Besigye told a crowd of his supporters shortly after his release that he would stage more walk-to-work protests.

On April 28 security forces resumed their crackdown, smashing the window of Besigye’s car as he drove into Kampala and spraying him with pepper before bundling him on the back of a pick-up truck.

“We never knew the government is so threatened to the extent” of shooting innocent civilians, Salaamu Musumba, a former MP and vice-president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the party Besigye heads, told Malcolm Web Al Jazeera journalist who covered Uganda elections and post-election violence.

The government blamed the violence on the actions of the opposition; the opposition said their right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the constitution. Security forces, they argued, do not have to use brute force to disperse unarmed protesters.

The protesters may be unarmed but Kale Kayihura, the then chief of the police, told reporters days after the first protest was dispersed that the opposition were trying to use demonstrators to topple a duly elected government.

That accusation seems to gain credence from the utterances made by Besigye on his campaign trail in the run-up to the February 18 presidential elections that he lost to Museveni. It was his third straight electoral defeat since 2001, when he first had a shot at the presidency.

Masses paying price

Besigye, had threatened to stage Egypt-style protests if the election was rigged. He had dismissed the past two elections and the recent one as a sham, but stopped short of staging protests, and merely said he would not recognise the government.

Museveni’s supporters, mostly rural dwellers who gave him 68 per cent of the vote against Besigye’s 26 per cent, say the opposition leader is simply a bad loser trying to take advantage of the disgruntled masses in the capital.

The spokesperson of the ruling National Resistance Movement, who has nicknamed the 64-year-old physician-turned-politician “Dr Walker” after the walk-to-work protest, says the masses are paid the price for the protest.

“Quite a good number of people died and scores injured after showdowns that should never have been in the first place had the protesters complied with police regulations,” Mary Karooro Okurut wrote in The New Vision, a state-owned paper.

Besigye had threatened to protest if the vote was rigged but only took action after food prices shot up.

“By now everybody knows that the motive for the walk-to-work riots has little or nothing to do with the inflation. The rioters simply want to make Kampala … and Uganda at large ungovernable.”

But Besigye remained popular in Kampala and in what appeared a major morale boost, he was visited by diplomats from the Irish and Dutch embassies at the countryside prison in Nakasongola where he was held for a week – much to the chagrin of the government.

Though he had vowed to press ahead with the protests, it remained to be seen how he would beef up the demonstrations given the brute force security forces used to deadly effect in disrupting the protests.

“The psyche of the police is to handle protesters as enemies and it seems it will take time and experience for the Ugandan police to realise that their job isn’t to defend the regime against the people,” Eriasa Mukiibi-Sserunjogi, a journalist now working Daily Monitor initially with the Independent news magazine in Kampala, told Al Jazeera.

The government had been quick to explain the source of the crisis, blaming it on drought and the turmoil in oil-producing countries like Libya. But that would not reduce the cost of living. The consumer price index grew by four per cent in March from the previous month and the year-on-year inflation rate stood at 11.1 per cent – up from six per cent.

Museveni told a semi-official Sunday paper in an interview that reducing taxes on fuel imports was unlikely as the government needs money to keep going.

Jobless graduates

“Besigye and his supporters were not only unhappy about spiralling prices. Museveni’s government, in which his wife Janet is a cabinet minister, has signally failed to create jobs for graduates in urban areas, where they are multiplying like malarial microbes.” International Press published.

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics says of the more than 400,000 who enter the labour market each year, 113,000 are absorbed in formal employment. The rest join the informal sector, where they earn barely enough to survive.

Putting final nail to the coffin

When President Museveni gathered  detailed intel on Walk to Work demos and citing a foreign hand with fear of vanishing the Arab spring style which had claimed some of his friends on the continent, he called a son of one of  his historical friends according to sources. This was General Kale Kaihura with clear instructions of bringing to and end what he referred to as “Efujjo lya Besigye” arrogance of Besigye.

Kaihura was grunted a classified expenditure which shocked many other security organs. He began recruiting people fresh of the university as well as bringing on board lay people like Kitata a former bodaboda rider now in jail for some crimes to help him end Besigye Agenda. He went ahead and snatched many opposition politicians including Members of Parliament and singers as another tactic to bring Besigye on his knees. He also trained several former criminal gangs turning them into crime preventers who helped him suppress protesters sometimes with sticks on the streets of Kampala.

Kaihura used his international network to spy on Besigye and his efforts around the world according to analyst and it’s believed every meeting he held both local and international was not a secret denying the opportunity for the opposition to oust Museveni.

Analysts have it, had it not been Kaihura who millitalised the police also aswell as his mobilization and intelligence, the Libya like Revolution would be inevitable in Uganda.

General Edward Kalekezi Kayihura, commonly known as Kale Kayihura, is a Ugandan lawyer, military officer, farmer and former policeman. He was the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the Uganda Police Force, the highest rank in that branch of Uganda’s government, from 2005 until 5 March 2018. He was succeeded by Martin Okoth Ochola in an unexpected reshuffle in which Museveni removed the chief weevil. This also saw the Minister for security replaced.

General Kayihura has attended a number of military courses including the following:

•          The Army Command Course at the Army Commander College, in Nanjing, China

•          The Combined Arms Course

•          The Brigade/Battalion Commander’s Course

•          The Conflict Resolution and Management Course at Nasser Military Academy, Cairo, Egypt

•          The Command and Staff Course at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama, United States, from 2000 to 2001.

Public service

In 1982, following his graduation from the University of London, he joined the National Resistance Army, a rebel outfit that fought the regime of Milton Obote II and captured power in 1986. He has since grown in military rank and held multiple offices in the army and public service, including the following:

As an Aide de Camp to the Commander of the Mobile Brigade, from 1982 to 1986.

As a Staff Officer in the Office of the Assistant Minister of Defence, from 1986 to 1988.

As Chief Political Commissar and simultaneous Director of Political Education in the National Resistance Army.

As the Operational Commander of the UPDF forces in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo

As a Military Assistant to the President of Uganda. In that capacity, he headed the Anti-Smuggling Unit, whose official name is Special Revenue Police Services.

He formerly served as the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the Uganda Police Force. He had served in that position since 2005 when he replaced General Edward Katumba Wamala as the IGP. He was the second Ugandan military officer to serve as the chief of the Uganda Police Force, in the history of the country. General Kayihura is still an active member of Uganda’s military and was previously the Head of the country’s Revenue Protection Services.

Controversies

Kale Kayihura is largely perceived (amongst Uganda’s political circles and a large section of the population) as working for and promoting Museveni’s personal interests through squashing of Museveni’s political opponents. During the 2016 general elections, he was behind the implementation of the controversial Public Order Management Act (POMA) which largely targeted opposition politicians and their rights to assemble . He has, in most cases appeared to be ruthless while dealing with opposition political protests. Kayihura infamously admitted before the media that he had sanctioned the beatings of supporters of Dr. Kizza Besigye, a leading opposition figure and four-time presidential candidate in Uganda. However, he later backtracked on his earlier statements due to public pressure and promised that the culprits (who had participated in the beatings) would face disciplinary action. A team of private lawyers also separately filed a criminal case against Kale Kayihura and other senior commanders for their involvement in the July 2016 beatings. Criminal summonses were issued by the magistrate court for the IGP and seven other senior officers to appear in court to answer charges of torture but none of them showed up in court. These proceedings were later halted by the controversial Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma.

On 13 June 2018, Kayihura was arrested on suspicion of killing police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi in March 2017.

Kale Kayihura appeared at the military court in Kampala, Uganda, on 24 August 2018. Uganda’s former police chief, He was released on bail after 76 days in military custody on charges of failure to protect war materials and aiding and abetting kidnapping.

Sacking as Inspector General of Police

On 4 March 2018, President Yoweri Museveni elevated Martin Okoth Ochola, previously the deputy police chief, to Inspector General of Police, on the same day General Elly Tumwine replaced Lieutenant General Henry Tumukunde as Security Minister. This followed widespread outcry from concerned citizens, regarding increased insecurity in the country, with the police cavorting with known criminal gangs. Kidnappings-for-ransom, wanton murders and robberies, including a rash of unexplained tourist deaths; all un-solved, which left the security apparatus clue-less.

Private life

He is married to Angella Kayihura, a Kenyan of Rwandese descent. She is the grand-niece of Rudahigwa, the last king of pre-independence Rwanda. The Kayihuras are the parents of two children. He is reported to own a mixed farm on 350 acres (140 ha) of land in Kabula, Lyantonde District, on which he owns about 500 goats.

US Sanctions

On 13 September 2019, Kayihura was sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury for gross violation of Human rights when he was head of the Uganda Police Force (UPF). The sanctions relate to Kayihura’s involvement in instructing the Flying Squad Unit to torture Ugandans at places such as the notorious Nalufenya Special Investigations Center (NSIC) in Jinja, Eastern Uganda. The sanctions press release states that, “As the IGP for the UPF, Kayihura led individuals from the UPF’s Flying Squad Unit, which has engaged in the inhumane treatment of detainees at the Nalufenya Special Investigations Center (NSIC). Flying Squad Unit members reportedly used sticks and rifle butts to abuse NSIC detainees, and officers at NSIC are accused of having beaten one of the detainees with blunt instruments to the point that he lost consciousness. Detainees also reported that after being subjected to the abuse they were offered significant sums of money if they confessed to their involvement in a crime.” The statement further states that Kayihura’s property owned in the US or by US Citizens will be blocked and must be reported, “As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Kayihura, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by him alone or with other designated persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC – Office of Foreign Assets Control.”

As Besigye tries to remain relevant in Uganda’s political struggle its evident however that he succumbed to the new wave of Bobism. A prayer ‘warrior’ from a city church we have spoken to in Kampala called Rodha says she saw Besigye in a vision giving up on Museveni- saying “you have defeated me”. She also adds that US former President Barrack Hussein Obama also in the same vision had backed off Uganda and that’s however Walk-to- work ended.

Musicians Threatening Museveni’s 34 year Reign and the rise of Bobism.

Bobism is a word HICGI News Agency has developed to mean the art of exerting pressure of Bobi wine rallying people against the ruling government in Uganda.

“When our leaders have become misleaders and mentors have become tormentors. When freedom of expression becomes the target of oppression, opposition becomes our position.”

The lyrics are from a song titled Situka, which means “Rise up” in Luganda, sung by Ugandan musician-turned-politician Bobi Wine ahead of the 2016 general elections.

The Afrobeats artist was using the song to exhort Ugandans to play an active role in fighting corruption and injustice in their country.

At the time many of the country’s famous musicians like Bebe Cool and Jose Chameleon backed President Yoweri Museveni’s re-election with songs like “Tubonga nawe” meaning support for you,  Bobi Wine however refused to join them.

It was then that some suspected that he wanted to play an active role in politics – a change of career which has now led to him being charged with treason and allegedly tortured by the military, which the authorities deny.

The Afrobeats star, who began his music career in the early 2000s, has always described his craft as “edutainment” – entertainment that educates. One of his earliest hits, Kadingo, is a song about personal hygiene.

Bobi Wine, whose official name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was elected to parliament as an independent in a by-election last year in Kyadondo East, central Uganda.

The 36-year-old beat candidates from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

The self-declared “ghetto president” told the BBC after his win that he represented a new generation: “I am going to stand up for issues. I’m here to give young people confidence,” he said.

The moniker came about after he continued recording music, despite his fame, in his poor neighbourhood in Kamwokya, in central Kampala where he grew up, the BBC’s Patience Atuhaire says.

Social media tax

In July, Bobi Wine locked arms with activists and marched on the streets of the capital, Kampala, to protest against a social media tax introduced ostensibly to boost state revenue and to end what Mr Museveni called “gossip” on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.

Critics, however, said the 200 Uganda shillings [$0.05, £0.04] daily tax was meant to suppress dissenting voices.

The government has since backtracked and said it will review the tax.

Bobi Wine was also a leading critic of the NRM’s push to scrap the constitutional upper age limit, set at 75, for presidential candidates.

He was among several opposition lawmakers who frustrated numerous debates in parliament to resist the change.

At one point scuffles broke out in parliament during the debate: Media caption Chairs were thrown during the debate in parliament

The opposition was however overwhelmed by lawmakers from the ruling party who managed to pass the bill that will allow Museveni, to run for a sixth term in 2021. He has been in power since 1986.

“He lost touch with the people [and] the values that he stood for. He came preaching fundamental change but right now he stands for no change,” Bobi Wine told the BBC.

‘People power’

Political analyst Nicholas Sengoba says the 14 August by-election in the north-western town of Arua, which was won by a candidate backed by Bobi Wine, was “do or die for Museveni”.

It was during the campaign for this by-election that he was arrested and then allegedly assaulted.

He, and more than 30 others, were accused of throwing stones at the presidential convoy, accusations they deny.

“Bobi Wine has now beaten Museveni and Besigye four times,” in local elections, says Mr Sengoba. “His party would be wondering if this is now a trend.

“Bobi has rallied his support to the slogan ‘people power’, and he aims to galvanise and organise it into a movement,” he adds.

Critics say Bobi Wine has focused on crowd mobilisation but has not introduced bills in parliament for the issues he campaigns for.

Political analyst Robert Kirunda says Bobi Wine’s appeal comes from a “leadership vacuum” in Uganda.

“There are many young people who are not interested in the historical struggle that brought NRM to power, nor with the radical defiance of the main opposition, [Kizza Besigye’s FDC]. Most of them want jobs and they feel the economy is not working for them.”

According to arts journalist and blogger Moses Serugo, Bobi Wine’s oratory skills and his alignment to people who live in the “ghetto”, mostly the youth, have allowed him to appeal to them.

He says Bobi Wine’s career as an actor, not a singer, is what has helped him become such an influential politician.

‘Baptism’

Mr Kirunda says Bobi Wine’s recent legal troubles and the alleged assault have actually raised his profile.

“The nature of his experience and the severity of his treatment has changed Uganda’s political trajectory forever.”

“No politician has upset the political scene and got Museveni reacting they way he has,” he adds.

Kenyans held protests calling for the release of Bobi Wine

Public pressure and protests have pushed President Museveni to deny that Bobi Wine was brutally beaten. He dismissed the reports as “fake news”.

“No Ugandan has gathered so much international attention like Bobi Wine has. He was everywhere, New York Times, Washington Post, BBC,” Mr Kirunda says.

Mr Kirunda adds that Bobi Wine has also upended opposition politics.

Just like long-time opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, Bobi Wine had now experienced what Mr Kirunda calls “the power of the state machinery”.

“The Bobi Wine who was arrested and detained is not the same one that was released.” He says that the politician has now undergone “his baptism”.

Mr Kirunda says that the challenge for the pop star politician now is how he deals with the expectations of his mostly young supporters.

“The weight has now fallen on his shoulder, his supporters will be watching”.

Bobi Wine’s rise to fame

          Born four years before Yoweri Museveni became president

          Describes his music as “edutainment” – entertainment that educates

          One of his earliest hits, Kadingo, was about personal hygiene

          Even after becoming famous, kept his recording studio in Kamwokya slum

          Nicknamed “the ghetto president”

          He and his wife have backed education and sanitation projects

          Became MP for Kyadondo East in June 2017

          Led a campaign against a social media tax

          Charged with treason August 2018

          Charged with inciting violence and ridiculing the president in 2019.

‘Grandchildren’

President Museveni  has not been watching from the sidelines. Despite championing a social media tax, he has used Facebook and sometimes newspapers to reach out to young Ugandans and address their anger over Bobi Wine’s detention.

And some political commentators say Bobi Wine’s emergence could spell the beginning of the end for Mr Besigye, who has been Uganda’s most high-profile opposition figure for many years.

He has been the FDC’s candidate against Mr Museveni in the last four elections – and some feel he needs to make way for others to challenge the 74-year-old president.

But Mr Besigye says to suggest that he feels threatened by Bobi Wine just creates divisions.

“[It’s not about] Besigye and Museveni, Bobi Wine and Museveni or even Bobi Wine and Besigye,” he told the BBC.

“This is the contestation of the people of Uganda for their liberation.”

Mr Besigye, who has suffered harassment, arrests and months in detention over many years, has some advice for Bobi Wine.

“It has to be understood that a struggle has a cost. Every struggle has a cost and every liberation has a cost and that cost must be borne by some people. And I don’t regret doing my small bit.”

“If you want to gauge his support politically, let him stand for president. Otherwise the fact that people may sympathise does not mean they support you,” says Moses Byaruhanga, the senior presidential adviser on political affairs.

On 24 July 2019, Kyagulanyi formally announced his bid to run for President in the 2021 general election.

Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu was born on 12 February 1982 in Nkozi Hospital, where his late mother worked. He grew up in the Kamwookya slum in the northeastern part of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda.

Kyagulanyi attended Kitante Hill School, where he attained his Uganda Certificate of Education in 1996, as well as Kololo Senior Secondary School, where he attained his Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education in 1998. He then attended Makerere University in Kampala, where he studied music, dance, and drama, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2003. In 2016 Bobi Wine went back to University to attain a bachelors degree in law at the International University of East Africa (IUEA), where he got in contact with David Lewis Lubongoya, then, his administrative law lecturer, and now people power movement chief executive secretary.

Museveni targets musicians ahead of 2021 elections.

In efforts to neutralize “Bobism” Uganda’s President decided to recruit more musicians to his side even those close to Bobi Wine like Butcher man. Museveni for the first time has appointed some musicians as Presidential advisors and availed them huge sums of money to help on his mobilization in the strongholds of Bobi Wine.

Once ignored, Ghettos as they refer to them have been penetrated by the President to remind the youth that the peace they enjoy was from efforts of the freedom fighter (Museveni) who still has plans of transforming their lives through creating jobs for them.

HICGI News Agency has spoken to David Segawa Munamasaka an ally of President Museveni in Busoga, who he has frequently used for mobilization in this Eastern region where the source of river Nile originates. Munamasaka has always rallied musicians in Busoga districts to support President and this was evident at a flopped concert where he had gathered 300 musicians but only to be suppressed by Kakira Police Division Commander- we covered this story last year.

Munamasaka says he is grateful to State House officials like Jennifer Kibuka and Lt. Col Edith Nakalema Head of Anti-Corruption Unit who have sometimes funded his mobilisation activities for Museveni.

“I have written to President Museveni and showed him strategies to deny Bobi Wine support for Busoga region” explains Munamasaka adding that the notorious Besigye Brigade known as Kirinya Black Mambas is now in his hands also.

Sources indicate that this gang operates nationwide and has been used by opposition politicians in several political activities which have turned out to be violent like walk to work.

“We want to defect to NRM after working so long for opposition for long, some of our colleagues have been jailed and others have died, we have been used by some Members of Parliament and opposition leaders but we are ready to join Museveni now.” Says ‘sheik’ Shaban one of the leaders of Kirinya Black Mambas who has spoken to HICGI News Agency.

Shaban confirms that Munamasaka has introduced them to Special Forces Command Director Major General Don William Nabasa who currently serves as the Commander of the Special Forces Command (SFC), an elite unit that is responsible for the security of the President of Uganda, and that of traditional cultural leaders and vital national installations, as well as the country’s oil fields. He assumed command of the SFC, in January 2017, taking over from 1st son Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who was appointed Senior Presidential Adviser on military affairs.

Shaban says some members of the Group have also met Maj James Nkojjo personal assistant to Museveni’s brother Gen Caleb Akandanahwo aka Salim Saleh, held meeting with Moses Byaruhanga, Senior Presidential Advisor on Political Affairs/ Director in charge of Mobilisation and Col Julius Mbeine Deputy Director in charge of Counter Terrorism at CMI. HICGI Agency has reached out to all these personalities mentioned though there comments are reserved.

Mumasaka says National Resistance Movement- NRM Leaders at the Secretariat are due to receive the 1000 Kirinya Black Mamba Brigade into NRM but Shaban says only if there’s “enkulakuluna’ prosperity extended to them.

‘My first encounter with President Museveni was in 1996 when I volunteered and mobilsed for him at a rally in Buvuma, Kalangala Island. Since them I have met him a few more times.” Says Munamasa.

HICGI News Agency has posed a question to Bobi Wine’s Camp. “If elections are not to be extended amidst Corona Virus Pandemic, would you still participate without direct campaigning?” but it’s evident that President Museveni is enjoying a political “honey moon” with no active opposition in the history of his reign. The nation is united, listening and acting as per instructions during this Corona Virus Pandemic. He has won more support recently when he sided with masses to ask Members of Parliament to return the 20 million Uganda Shillings unclearly distributed to themselves in guise of responding COVID 19 effects.

Museveni went ahead to attack his security organs on why they arrested opposition legislator Francis Zzake yet some of his very NRM MPs and ministers had also violated the same rules of not distributing direct food aid to the public.

Interview with Joel Ssenyonyi- Bobi Wine’s People Power Spokesman

In the eventuality that Corona virus persists, God forbid but elections are not postponed like we have seen in some countries, would Bobi Wine still Participate?

Everything has been affected it’s not just People Power, kids are not studying, businesses are closed, people are starving. There’s so much pain people are going through, our concern in not elections. The postponement of elections , look if COVID 19 continues to bite in some more months, God forbid and the lock down is extended, the challenges will remain, kids will not go to school and elections will also be affected. Our economy is going to suffer and pain will continue; our prayers and concerns are that we would do everything possible as a country.

 Our hope is that we decisively deal with COVID 19 globally and here in Uganda such that pain goes away, children go back to school, businesses can open and our economy does not shut down.

 I get so many calls, a minimum of 20 calls per day of people asking for help and we do not have the money to help them. We wait that COVID 19 stops such that all this pain goes away and then we get back to normal including elections.

If the situation doesn’t get better everything suffers including elections but we want the situation to get better not just to have elections but that pain goes away, people are going through so much pain, when old women call and there crying tears for the children they cannot feed; I would like this to stop so that people don’t continue starving and dying.

Our focus is not just elections but the pain people are going through; I get disturbed by politicians who are jumping and get excited, these guys from EALA (East Africa Legislative Assembly) who are saying that elections should be postponed to 2023 such that we keep in our offices, my concern for leaders like those is that they have no concern for the plight of the people, we should be one as leaders and doing everything possible to fight Corona Virus. If we postpone it means we shall not take action and people will remain suffering till 2023.

Do you think President Museveni is in his political honey moon by now having a silent opposition during this time of COVID 19?

While the opposition might not be having many activities, the population is under starvation  and the lock down is aimed at curbing the spread of the virus  and it’s understandable ,because majority of our people live hand to mouth and if they don’t get out to work they suffer.

Concentrating on Kampala and Wakiso is not enough because even those ridding bodabodas in Gulu, Arua, Kasese, Mbarara are starving because the lock down is nationwide. You do not want to be a leader when your people are starving and you can’t do anything about it but you go on TV and start cracking jokes, the few people who have meat, there fridges stocked are the ones who laugh, it’s not biting them so hard but a poor woman in Bwaise who sells shirts to take care of her 10 grandchildren, that woman doesn’t have the guts to laugh at jokes cracked by Mr. Museveni and any serious government would take action.

Featuring on BBC top News today of Hon Kyagulanyi rejecting the 20 million shillings popularly known as COVID 19 money with now a court ruling on MPs ordered to return it, whose victory is it?

I think ultimately when we compare our MPs now not taking what belongs to tax payers, this victory is for tax payers, and Hon Kyagulanyi clearly stated that this was immoral because of how it was done. This money had not been part of the supplementary in the past. The initial budget comprised of 3 billion shillings allocated to billboards for COVID sensitisation, it doesn’t make sense, you put up bill boards but people are in there houses locked. More billions were for security to combat the virus and health but in order for them to have their budget passed without hustle, they decided to put in some money for the MPS and that supplementary budget was passed in very easily, did you hear them debate it? That’s why the MPs don’t have moral authority to follow up on that supplementary budget.

Is the Speaker right to summon Hon kyagulanyi and also say that she will deal with the two MPs who took the matter to court?

Hon Kyagulanyi has made it very clear today; if he is summoned he will appear and tell them the same thing he said that this money is a bribe. MPs have a salary, okay, if MPs would like to help people they would do it on individual basis. Kivumbi you’re not an MP but am sure there some people you have helped this evening who have reached out to you, ‘man am stuck’ – so you give them whatever little you have, hasn’t it?

E K Benj: Yes

Ssenyonyi : Are you an MP?

E K Benj: No

Ssenyonyi: Do you have to get this money from the consolidated fund to help these people?

E K Benj: No

Ssenyonyi: So there you’re, so if Kivumbi who is not an MP can be able to help with any means he can, so why doesn’t an MP be able to help people without first getting money from the consolidated fund? Use your salary to help people; don’t go to the consolidated fund with that excuse. And also besides, it’s not the role of an MP to deliver services , it’s the role of Executive and then Parliament gives  Government over sight; the cardinal role of an MP is Legislation, Representation, Budget allocation and  very important oversight. The Legislature gives oversight over what the Executive does. Is the money utilised well, are services done? So if the MPs say give us money so that we extend these services to people so tomorrow MPs will say give us money so that we build roads and health centres in our constituencies. That’s not the role of an MP; each arm has to operate on its own.

And we told MPs that they were setting a trap for them, so you heard what Mr. Museveni said yesterday, he abandoned them in the trap set to MPs and they failed in it.  So that’s the challenge with this money.

HICGI News Agency strives to cover accurate, balanced, uncensored and unbiased News, if you have a concern on this and more stories send an email to editorial@hicginewsagency.com

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