Uganda's pop star-turned-lawmaker now facing treason charges

Bobi Wine

Bobi Wine was last charged in a closed court session, with only two of his lawyers permitted access.

Dozens of top musicians including Chris Martin, Chrissie Hynde, Brian Eno and Damon Albarn have signed an open letter calling for the release of detained Ugandan singer-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, known to fans as Bobi Wine.

Robert Kyagulanyi appeared before a military court on Thursday to face charges of unlawful weapons possession.

The Ugandan MP and pop star Bobi Wine has been charged with treason in a civilian court shortly after a military court freed him.

His lawyer said he needed "urgent medical care", the newspaper reported. How will the arrest of Bobi Wine and other opposition figures impact politics in Uganda?

Friends and relatives told the Guardian that Kyagulanyi, who campaigns under the slogan "people power", was left unable to stand after being beaten in detention.

It is claimed that stones were thrown at the convoy of President Museveni who was there to support his candidate. Wine was imprisoned and allegedly tortured following a demonstration against Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, prompting prominent artists to issue an open letter calling for his release. Bobi Wine's driver was later shot dead. Among them was a Reuters photographer, who has since been released from police detention.

"When a state behaves with this level of impunity and violence, there are few statements or resolutions that will stop them from the murder of an innocent opponent like Bobi Wine". He also remains in custody, still charged with treason.

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Prosecution also alleged that Bobi Wine was found in possession of 35 bullets of calibre 7.62mmx39mm, equipment of the defence forces, in his hotel room.

"We are alarmed by recent incidences of disproportionate use of force by security personnel, as well as widespread reports that security forces have severely beaten and even tortured Members of Parliament, journalists, and others recently detained", the State Department official added.

He went on to beat more established candidates by a landslide in a by-election and became the MP for Kyadondo East in central Uganda. Our colleague Hon Kyagulanyi should be subjected to the proper rule of the law because we believe Uganda is not a banana republic.

He might also have a knack of being kingmaker. In the past year, three candidates backed by Bobi Wine have won parliamentary seats in by-elections.

Clearly, Bobi Wine has sparked a movement and rallying cry against the status quo in Uganda.

Does President Museveni see him as a threat?


He protested with activists against a social media tax introduced to boost state revenue, which the government has since backtracked on.

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