Uganda's pop star sworn-in as lawmaker

Tuesday July 11 2017

Newly elected Ugandan MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as Bobi Wine, with his wife Barbie on their way to Parliament building for the swearing in ceremony. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI | NMG

By The EastAfrican

Uganda’s popular musician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as Bobi Wine, has taken oath of office as member of Parliament for Kyaddondo East Constituency.

Wine’s supporters, riding boda bodas (motorcycles), took to the street to escort him and his wife Barbara Itungo to Parliament buildings for the ceremony.

There was also a heavy police presence.

The Afrobeats musician was sworn in by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who handed him a copy of the House rules and the Constitution.

“Honourable Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu I congratulate you and welcome you to the 10th Parliament.

“Here is a copy of the rules of procedure and Constitution. Study them and they will guide you,” Ms Kadaga said.


Wine garnered 77 per cent of the vote as an independent candidate, stunning political pundits after beating both the ruling NRM party candidate and main Opposition FDC party aspirant.

The Kyaddondo East seat was declared vacant last year after a court ruled that the election had violated electoral rules. The by-election held on June 29.

The entertainer has said he will use his position to mobilise “the people to determine their own destiny”.

For many, Wine embodies the struggles, frustrations and hopes of the young, poor and marginalised in a youthful nation whose often elderly rulers can seem dismissive of their plight.

His election marked a remarkable personal journey for the charismatic reggae star from brash, dreadlock-wearing, slum-dwelling youth to a sharp-suited and savvy politician.


Ugandan musician and Afrobeats star Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, famously known as Bobi Wine. PHOTO FILE | NATION

Wine rose to prominence about a decade ago with catchy, upbeat tunes in African reggae style with lyrics that often touched on issues of poverty and social justice.

Growing up in Kamwokya, one of Kampala's poorest slums, Bobi Wine worked as a backing singer before joining the university where he studied music and drama and thereafter launched his solo career.