Clad in a red beret, a signature piece of the National Unity Platform (NUP) dresscode, Bobi Wine, the president of the opposition party appeared in South African-based studio France 24 Radio. Bobi Wine had travelled to South Africa with his wife, Barbie Kyagulanyi, in celebration of her birthday and probably used the chance to provide a rebuttal to an earlier interview President Yoweri Museveni had had with the same news outlet.
When asked whether he had moved on since the January 14 elections, Bobi Wine said: “There is nothing to move on from Uganda. Uganda is still under the tight grip of military dictatorship under Gen. Museveni. We went to polls when the internet was blacked out, when my entire campaign team was in incarceration. A few of them just got released under a month ago. Thousands of our supporters are still under illegal detention.”
Bobi Wine was responding to an earlier interview of President Yoweri Museveni in which Museveni revealed that he is ready for dialogue with the opposition. The President went ahead to assure the population that security officials involved in the demonstrations in September 2020 that led to the loss of 50 lives will be prosecuted.
In the same interview, Museveni rubbished talk that suggests that he is grooming his son Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who is the Commander Land Forces and Special Advisor, Special Operations, to succeed him as President.
In his response, Bobi Wine castigated the African Union and the international community for their silence in the aftermath of the Ugandan elections, which he said were marred by atrocities.
“The African Union did not say a word and the international community, apart from a few statements, continue to remain silent about atrocities that continue to happen in Uganda. I am definitely the elected President of Uganda but as it is the junta that took over our country since 1986 is still the junta that is in control of our country. Of course we have to continue to fight until the will of the people of Uganda is asserted.”
On whether or not President Museveni is worried about his challenge, Bobi Wine explained: “I must say Gen. Museveni is not only worried of me but thousands and thousands of Ugandans that are yearning for change and not only demanding for change silently but are up to demand for what is rightly theirs. He is scared because he has kept people ignorant for a long time until our generation woke up all at once.”
He went on: “We must remember, Uganda has over 80% citizens that have never seen another President because Gen. Museveni has been in power for 35 years. So, yes, he is scared of our generation, and rightly so.”
Bobi Wine, who is currently on vacation in South Africa with his wife Barbie Kyagulanyi, told France 24 Radio President Museveni is not interested in dialogue with the opposition.
“Gen. Museveni is being the hypocrite that he has always been. You must remember he has been the same person hoodwinking with dialogue. It should be remembered right from the 80s in Nairobi. But again to show the world he does not believe in dialogue has been either cohesion or co-optation but not real dialogue,” he argued.
The musician turned politician added: “We can not talk about dialogue when we don’t have rights to express ourselves. We cannot talk about dialogue when we are not free. Free people that discuss not when one is under cohesion not another is asking for dialogue. Well, I said a few of our supporters. If dialogue is to be meaningful it should be for and on behalf of the people of Uganda. Not dialogue between two individuals.”
Bobi Wine, who believes the dialogue should not be between him and President Museveni, stated: “Ugandans went to polls on the 14th of January and asserted their voices and the voices have been usurped. So it is not just a matter of me and General Museveni. It is a matter of the people of Uganda, not me and Museveni.”
Prosecuting security personnel
President Museveni told France 24 Radio the security personnel involved in unlawful activities that led to the loss of lives of 50 people in violent demonstrations in September last year will be prosecuted.
However, Bobi Wine disagreed with the President: “I must say it is not the first time people are being massacred under the orders of Gen. Museveni. He came out and bragged and pounded his chest about the mass murders of Ugandans. And, it must be remembered by all that mass murders are being done under the command of his son Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba who is effectively in charge of the military.”
He explained, further: “So, it is rather hypocritical for Museveni to order for the mass murder of people and come out to publicly assert it on public TV that it is his son and congratulate the military for the mass murder of those people and then later come to say people will be prosecuted.”
“It has been over six months since the people that murdered Ugandans are known and this is not the first time it has happened. My driver was murdered by the elite forces under the command of Gen. Museveni’s son. The people that killed my driver remain unknown and are not prosecuted. A renowned boxer Zebra was killed by Museveni’s soldiers and he came out and owned that. None of them has been prosecuted.”
Bobi Wine categorically confirmed to France 24 Radio that President Museveni is grooming his son Muhoozi to succeed him. He revealed that he is using actions rather than words to ensure the transition takes effect.
The NUP leader narrated: “It is almost clear Gen. Museveni is somebody that has never stood with his word but his actions are clear. He is the same person who said he will not rule beyond the age of 75. But when he is 75 he is still the same person who is showing no signs of relinquishing power. He is the same person who said Africa’s problem in general is and Uganda in particular, are leaders that over stay in power. 35 years later he does not want to be reminded of what he said. So, there is no reason to believe anything that he says. It is the only reason to watch his actions and discern for ourselves as Ugandans.”
Award winning journalist and writer who has worked as a stringer for a couple of acclaimed South Africa based German journalists, covered 3 Ugandan elections, 2008 Kenya election crisis, with interests in business and sports reporting.