Kenyan MPs protest arrest of Uganda’s Bobi Wine

Friday August 24 2018

Ugandan independent MP Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine.

Ugandan independent MP Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine. He is set to appear before the General Court Martial in Gulu on August 23, 2018. PHOTO | DAILY MONITOR | NATION  

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Youthful Kenyan MPs have threatened to stage demonstrations in Kampala if Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, is not released in one week.

Lawmakers Jared Okelo (Nyando), Babu Owino (Embakasi East) and Gideon Keter (nominated) of the Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association said they will first stage a protest against the arrest and torture of Mr Wine at the Ugandan Embassy in Kenya before escalating it to the neighbouring country.

While addressing the press on Wednesday at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, the lawmakers said they will speak out against abuse of human rights being meted out on the youthful Ugandan legislator following his arbitrary arrest.

“An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere, we will not keep quiet while one of us is being subjected to inhuman treatment just across the border,” Mr Okelo said.

“Our number one mandate as young MPs is to is to protect human rights. We are giving the Ugandan authority one week to unconditionally release Bobi Wine or else we will lead a delegation to Uganda and hold a mother of all protests on the streets of Kampala,” he added.

Mr Owino, who is also the secretary-general of the association, said the continual detention of the young MP is an infringement on freedom of expression and association.

The MP said the Ugandan Embassy in the country should be closed until Mr Wine is released.

“I have been arrested before and tortured, I don’t fear being arrested while demonstrating in Uganda,” Mr Babu added.

He said they have been in constant communication with their colleagues in Uganda and the family of Mr Wine over his condition while in custody.

Mr Keter said an injustice being meted on Mr Wine is an injustice to the youth of Africa and they will not condone it.

“We know what it takes to be an MP and therefore stand by Bobi Wine,” Mr Keter said.

The MPs ruled out engaging other East African Heads of State to intervene on the matter saying they still want to explore other avenues.

“The situation in Uganda at the moment still does not warrant the intervention of other Heads of State. We will use our own means to ensure that our voice is heard on the matter,” Mr Okelo said.

Mr Kyagulanyi was last week charged with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition before the General Court Martial that was chaired by Gen Andrew Gutti in Gulu. He was remanded in Makindye Military barracks in Kampala until August 23.

He was arrested on Monday together with other MPs who have also appeared before the Gulu Chief Magistrate’s court and charged with treason and remanded until August 30.

The Law Society of Kenya has also made demands on the Ugandan government following recent unrest in the capital.

“We want the government of the Republic of Uganda to launch a thorough and independent investigation including appropriate forensic investigations into how Yassin Kawuma was killed with a shot to his head. There must be accountability for this tragic death,” said Charles Kanjama, the LSK Nairobi branch chairman said yesterday. Mr Kawuma was the driver of Bobi Wine.