Wind of Change Blowing: A Youthful Battle Against a Veteran Bush Fighter in Uganda

As colonialism neared its culmination in the 1950s in Africa, a wave of optimism swept throughout the continent. But after its brave escape, and the defeat of colonialism, Africa was and is still faced with the tasks on which hang the survival of the newly formed nations defined by colonial borders. The extensive ranges of obstacles including but not limited to the crafty hand of neo-colonialism, conflict of ideologies, euphoria over independence, refutation of change, economic crises, civil conflicts, political instability and authoritarian regimes.

Uganda like many newly independent states in Africa experienced political turmoil for decades. From the election of Sir Edward Mutesa, the Kabaka of Buganda, as the first President, to Milton Obote, to the infamous coup and rule of field marshal Idi Amin, followed by another coup and military rule of Bazilo Olara-Okello, to the current administration of Yoweri Museveni, Uganda continues to seek a permanent resolution to its political mayhem of its leaders insisting on remain “Presidents for life”

The Rise of Bobi Wine

Until the arrival of Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) musician turned politician in 2017, politics in Uganda was dominated by two personalities with shared experience in their participation in the 1981 to 1986 liberation war that brought Museveni to power and Museveni has since been in power.

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President Museveni is well documented for his heavy-handedness against opposition politicians and their supporters. While the Constitution of Uganda and other laws provide for political freedoms, incidents of torture, excessive use of force, and loss of lives caused by security agents.

Gen Kainerugaba Hails President Museveni as UPDF Marks 39 Years | The  Kampala Post
Museveni 39 years ago

In 2005, Uganda’s parliament in a controversial move abolished the presidential term limits from the Constitution. In 2017, Museveni again through the parliament, registered another success when the Assembly successfully removed the 75 age limit provided for by the Constitution, paving the way for Museveni to stand for a sixth term in next year’s election, only that this time, his traditional opposition leader and rival, Kizza Besigye won’t be his worry but youth man, Bobi Wine.

Musician turned politician, Robert Kyagulanyi most known by his stage name “Bobi Wine”was just four years old when President Yoweri Museveni came to power in 1986 but he (Museveni) has since held on with no signs of leaving.

Robert Kyagulanyi came to more prominence, glory to the habitual viciousness of the security agents in Uganda when he was arrested, tortured, and charged with treason for allegedly “blocking the convoy” of the President. While his protest songs have long irritated Museveni, the government is notorious for routinely blocking his popular concerts with the “People Power” movement.

Uganda's 'Ghetto President': How Bobi Wine - Rolling Stone
PEOPLE POWER: Wine protesting in Kampala. | Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images

Yoweri Museveni’s ruling party along with multiple oppositions were defeated by Bobi Wine in a by-election for parliament as an independent candidate in 2017 and has since then emerged as the new, youthful face of the opposition.

Uganda has one of the world’s youngest population with over 60 per cent being under 30years. Bobi Wine himself being a ghetto youth with a remarkable rise to prominence has the advantage of relating more with the youthful population most of whom continue to face the dire economic hardship.  The credibility of Museveni itself has been damaged by his continuous use of force against oppositions and ordinary citizens, his old age and struggling economy among others.

Not only did the arrival of Bobi invigorated the participation of youths in politics, but he also stands to present one of the toughest challenges ever faced by the incumbent President. Bobi Wine, who already registered a massive “balance of power” in Uganda will lead the People Power Movement through the National Unity Platform (NUP) into the 2021 election. With incredible support from the diaspora, there is an amusing side to the increasing support and unity within the opposition.

On Thursday, January 12th Uganda will head to the polls to elect their next President and lawmakers. There have been reports of numerous violence and loss of lives to the extent that the main opposition leader, Bobi Wine wears camouflage vest and hat whenever he is on the road.

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