Bobi Wine, the president of the National Unity platform and a leading opposition figure, has urged musicians to use their popularity to influence regime decisions rather than accept being treated as beggars.
The National Unity platform party president and also strong opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine has urged his fellow musicians to use their popularity to influence regime decisions rather than accepting to be made beggars.
Bobi Wine made the remarks in response to an earlier report that made rounds on different social media platforms of a team of artists who received cash handouts following a private meeting with Gen Salim Saleh in Gulu.
The opposition leader who is also a musician said upon seeing his fellow artists lineup for cash handouts, his mind was taken aback by the story of Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator of the 19th century.
“Stalin once plucked off all the feathers from a live chicken as a lesson to his followers. He then set the chicken on the floor a short distance away. The chicken was blooded and suffering from great pain, yet, when Stalin began to throw some bits of wheat to the chicken it followed him around.”
He then said to his followers; This is how easy it is to govern stupid people. They will follow you no matter how much pain you cause them, as long as you throw a few worthless crumbs to them every once in a while,” Bobi Wine wrote.
He said the scene is proof that what was written in this story has come back to reality.
The musician turned politician pinpointed that on very many occasions, President Yoweri Museveni has made use of two human weaknesses including greed and fear to keep hold of power even amidst a dissatisfied group of individuals.
He said those who resist greed are intimidated into submission until they accept to bow down. Kyagulanyi however, told the artists that their brand is beyond that of beggars.
He said the regime on top of regarding them as a useless group has reinstated laws countless times targeting the industry.
“Artistes are aware that about two years ago, the regime brought very oppressive laws targeting the industry. Among the laws proposed was a requirement that an artiste must submit his or her lyrics to the minister of Gender for approval before producing any artistic work. Another ridiculous one was a requirement for artistes to get permission from the government before they are allowed to perform abroad,” he said.
“These regulations were never shelved. They were only put on a halt when the regime got the excuse of COVID19 to implement the control which they had hoped to achieve through the regulations,” Bobi Wine noted reminding that even before the coronavirus pandemic, he together with some musicians who are affiliated to his party were denied any chance of holding shows.
“I and Nubian Li were not allowed perform anywhere in Uganda. The regime made it clear that any artiste who dares to criticise its corruption and injustice was not going to be allowed to perform in this country. Several artistes including Nubian Li, Dan Magic and the Mighty family comedians just returned from Kitalya after seven months for simply associating with me and for speaking the truth. The attack on the arts has been clear for all to see.”
In all this, Kyagulanyi said his fellow musicians are still blind. He said they have accepted to bow down to President Museveni’s orders yet he is the very person who destroyed the music industry.
He said the regime is determined to cause division in the art industry so that it never produces another ‘Kyagulanyi’ kind of artist that speaks truth to its face.
“We have seen very few artistes bold enough to stand in solidarity with fellow artistes and with the Music and creative industry. Uganda Musician’s Association (UMA), an association which we started to fight for the industry has been loudly silent about all this injustice. It was reduced to a beggars’ association,” he added.
“I know that all these artists are aware that The objective is to divide artistes and cause them to fight against each other because Gen. Museveni believes in the divide and rule concept. No wonder, several artistes are already up in arms questioning the methods and criteria used to select beneficiaries of the few monies dished out every once in a while. Moreover tax payers’ money.”