Showdown looms as Bobi Wine returns to Uganda

Wednesday September 19 2018

Ugandan pop star-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, Bobi Wine

A photo of Ugandan pop star-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine at an airport, shared on his Twitter post and captioned "Headed home" on September 19, 2018. PHOTO | BOBI WINE 

By HELLEN GITHAIGA
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A showdown looms in Uganda after pop star-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi takes issue with guidelines given by the police concerning his return from the US.

The Kyadondo East MP, known as Bobi Wine, has been in the United States for nearly three weeks for specialised treatment following his alleged torture by security agents last month.

"I am a free Ugandan with the right to move freely in my country. The police has no business telling me who receives me and who cannot or where I go and where I cannot. This impunity must stop now," he tweeted on Wednesday at an airport a few hours after he said he was headed home.

Mr Kyagulanyi had been allowed to travel for medical care after being freed on bail. He is facing treason charges over alleged stoning of President Yoweri Museveni's vehicle during a parliamentary by-election campaign in northwestern Arua Municipality.

Bobi Wine has denied the charges and accused the government of trying to stifle dissent.

Mr Kyagulanyi is expected to arrive on Thursday.

Uganda police spokesman Emilian Kayima issued "security guidelines" on Wednesday warning members of the public to stay away.

“On his arrival, the MP will be received at Entebbe International Airport by his immediate family. He will be availed security from the airport to his home. Police will further ensure law and order for all road users. There shall be no unlawful rallies, processions and assemblies,” Mr Kayima said.

He added that the police has intelligence that some individuals were distributing red t-shirts (associated with Mr Kyagulanyi's 'People Power' movement) in a planned countrywide procession.

“Members of the public ought to be reminded that public assemblies and processions are regulated by the provisions of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) 2013. No member of his family has worked out a mechanism for these intended processions and assemblies as provided for in the law,” Mr Kayima said.

But Bobi Wine says the police cannot "decide who picks me and where I go upon arrival", adding that none of his family members will be at the airport to receive him since "I will find them home because I know where home is!"

"I will be received by friends, colleague leaders and artistes. I will then go and see my sick grandmother briefly at Najjanankumbi from where I will head to Kamwokya for lunch with my family (brothers and sisters) before I go to my home in Magere," he said.

On Tuesday, Mr Kyagulanyi said he is returning to Uganda to continue with the struggle "to have a better country."