Bobi Wine has successfully changed the politics of Uganda, but can he change the government? This will be answered on Thursday Jan.14 elections.
After the October 9th 1962 Independence celebrations, several individuals have played a huge role and determined the path of the politics of Uganda as an independent country.
These have influenced political activities and also occupied several offices until today. Names like Benedicto Kiwanuka of the Democratic Party, Abu Kakyama Mayanja (Former presidential aspirant), Ken Lukyamuzi (Former Lubaga South constituency and President Conservative Party) Nasser Ntege Ssebagala (Former Kampala Mayor and Presidential advisor), Kizza Besigye Kifefe (Four-time presidential candidate between 2001 – 2016), Paul Muwanga (Former Vice President in Obote’s government).
Paul Muwanga was very influential in the politics of Uganda between 1970 and 1985), Yusuf Kironde Lule (Former president and ally with Yoweri Museveni in the 1980s), Milton Obote (Two-time president (1966-1971 and later 1980 to 1985), Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere (Former President, DP and Presidential candidate in 1996 polls).
Although most of these individuals did not occupy the highest office in the country, their impact and influence on the politics of this country have been felt and recognized.
Another person that should be credited for the history and politics of Uganda is the current President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who fought the Obote regime in Luweero triangle between 1980 -1985 and later dethroned Okello Lutwa in January 1986.
Museveni introduced several policies and new political structures for example multiparty system in Uganda in 2005 and started organising general elections in 1996.
Museveni’s success in the politics of Uganda has granted him an opportunity to rule Uganda for over three decades now but he is facing a new kid in the politics of Uganda who is expected to put up a formidable resistance.
Building his movement
His name is Kyagulanyi Robert Ssentamu mostly known as Bobi Wine. Although he was always political in his lyrics, his emergence in elective politics in 2017 has impacted the politics of Uganda and threatened Museveni’s rule till date.
The 38-year-old will take on the country’s longtime president in the January 14 election.
As a reggae and pop musician, Bobi Wine became famous in Uganda. For over 15 years, his albums and singles have made him a household name throughout East Africa.
He put his music at a standstill in 2017 and decided to run as an independent in the Kyadondo East parliamentary by-election.
Bobi Wine decided to run when court nullified the results and thrown out FDC’s Kantinti and later won in a landslide victory although opposition stronghold Kizza Besigye camped in the area to campaign for Mr Kantinti the FDC flag bearer.
President Yoweri Museveni also camped in the area to campaign for NRM’s Mike Ssebalu. Ever since Bobi wine was declared the winner, the politics of Uganda has never been the same again.
He’s quoted saying: ”Since parliament has failed to come to the ghetto, then we shall bring the ghetto to parliament.”
Bobi wine first became prominent during the ‘Togikwatako’ campaign in 2017 which resisted the changing of Clause 102 b of the constitution which opened the way for people of all age to contest for the top sit in the country removing age as a barrier.
Kyagulanyi again rallied young people and Kampala residents in July 2018 to protest new Uganda’s controversial Social Media Tax where the government proposed Shs200 on every citizen to use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Although, government through the Police and military dispersed protesters, this was the first time Bobi Wine identified him as the voice of the common people. After the Arua incident, social media started playing a key role. Images and videos of Bobi Wine and other members of the National Unity Platform have been widely circulated on Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp. .
It is the same year 2018 that Bobi Wine and his friends formed the People Power Movement which he used as the tool to defeat and outshine Museveni and Kizza Besigye in by-elections in Bugiri, Jinja, Arua and Rukugiri district.
According to Wikipedia, People Power is a Ugandan resistance pressure group led by Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. The movement has been driven primarily by civil disruption with the extended presidency of Yoweri Museveni, following his announcements of seeking reelection in 2021.
After appearing on different international media houses like Aljazeera, VOA, CNN, BBC and others, Bobi Wine became a huge brand name both abroad and in Uganda and this washed him with millions of supporters and convinced him that he can win presidential elections.
Changing the voter profile
In 2019, he officially declared his presidential bid and called upon different political players to support him in the 2021 Uganda general polls.
He went ahead and acquired a political vehicle/party ”the National Unity Platform” which has left the political environment shaking.
After just one week in existence, his party candidate succeeded in the youth elections, 2 months later the same party declared over 380 candidates to participate in the general elections on NUP card in the four regions of the country for Member of Parliament.
This number (380) is just second to NRM and above that of FDC, DP and Mugisha Muntu’s ANT party.
For President, Bobi Wine is seen as the biggest challenger to Museveni ahead of the general elections will be held in Uganda on 14 January 2021.
Bobi Wine first uplifted and motivated the young people whom according to statistics occupy about 80% of the general population and later empowered the ghetto people to speak out and participate in the politics of their country.
It should be remembered that before the arrival of Bobi wine, the politicians deliberately ignored the contribution of the young people and only concentrated on the working and elite class to solicit for votes.
The biggest contribution of Kyagulanyi to the politics of this country is that he has awakened the biggest portion of the Country’s population to register and participate in the general polls.
Remember that in 20 years’ time in Youth elections, the National Unity platform (NUP) is the first party to have a strong competition with the governing NRM in the youth and village elections. Wine acquired the National Unity platform (NUP) from Moses Nkonge Kibalama.
Bobi Wine said that his party won at least 90% in the youth elections in all areas where they fronted candidates against NRM Candidates and NRM only succeeded where NUP never fronted candidates.
Becoming a public figure
It is only because of Bobi Wine’s involvement in elective politics that hundreds of musicians, comedians, entertainers, media personalities and socialites have officially decided to join the world of politics.
Many of these people got the self-belief that they also hold value in the public eye as most of them were looked at as “Bayaye” just because of their careers and jobs in the entertainment world and trust me most parents also used to see this profession as one for non-serious people and they never encouraged their children to join it.
Some of these personalities inspired by Bobi Wine include contestants for elective positions in the coming 2021 elections include.
- Geoffrey Lutaaya standing for Member of Parliament Kakuuto County
- Miles Rwamiti standing for Member of Parliament Hoima East Constituency
- Patrick Mujuuka aka Patrico for Member of Parliament Nakifuma
- Hillary Kiyaga aka Dr Hilderman for Member of Parliament Mawokota North
- Joseph Mayanja aka Jose Chameleon for Lord Mayor Kampala City
- Mathias Wlukaga for Mayor Kyengera
- Nambooze Annet aka Anatalia Oze for Lord Woman Councilor Rubaga North
- Sendi Mosh aka Mr Mosh for LC5 Councilor Makindye East III
- Mutyaba Adam aka Ziggy Dee for LC3 Councilor Ggaba Parish (Makindye East)
- Akugizibwe Jacob aka DJ Jacob Omutuuze for LC3 Bunamwaya Division
- And so many others
The past two years since his emergence artists like Jose Chameleone, Geoffrey Lutaaya, Hilderman Kiyaga, Patricko Mujuuka, Ronald Mayinja who later dropped out and hundreds of others have declared that they will challenge the incumbents to represent their constituents in different positions.
The rise of Bobi wine in Uganda’s politics also made the NRM party bring his friends and supporters in their camp. This mission was spearheaded by music promoter Balaam Baruhagara. And as a result, many of the People Power supporters crossed to NRM cam and these include Full Figure, Ashburg Katto, Bajjo, BassajjaMivule and so many others.
The fact remains that Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has antagonized the politics and challenged the position and status quo of opposition leaders most especially those in the Forum for Democratic Party headed by Patrick Oboi Amuriat and this is the sole reason why we have witnessed opposition politicians on live abusing and attacking the young musician and his party members.
They have referred to NUP supporters as unorganized, hooligans and as well attack their principal and president.
In my opinion
I believe that Bobi Wine and his fellow leaders like Joel Ssenyonyi and Lewis David Rubongoya have expressed good leadership and exposed the dirt in government.
Their efficiency, effectiveness, secrecy, especially as leaders of NUP, the candidate selection process of this new party and their leadership capabilities and skills, have greatly contributed and impacted on the politics of Uganda.
Like the likes of Nasser Ssebagala who took over from Paul Kawanga Ssemwongere, Kizza Besigye Kifeefe who took over from Nasser Ssebagala in 2000, Bobi Wine has successfully changed the politics of Uganda, but can he change the government? This will be answered on Thursday Jan.14 elections.
His existence in elective politics has done a big change in the way people especially the youths take politics.
Bobi wine has also given rise to an increase in the use of online media in and outside Uganda to all political parties fans. Many bloggers and socialites have risen due to Bobi Wine effect.
Online TVs have risen and these include MAP Mediya, Fred Lumbuye, Uganda Empya, Olujuliro, Ghetto Media, JB Muwonge, Kakensa Media etc.
Bobi wine has also influenced many Ugandans in the Diaspora to start following Ugandan politics and also get involved in one way or another.