What democracy? Bobi Wine responds to Museveni

Tuesday May 07 2019

From left: Former NTV news anchor (now People Power spokesperson) Joel Ssenyonyi, Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake, Kassanda North MP Patrick Nsamba, and Kasambya County MP Gafa Mbwatekamwa. PHOTO | MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI | NMG


Ugandan lawmaker Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, held a news conference on Tuesday to respond to President Yoweri Museveni’s letter on demonstrations and a disputed opinion poll that showed the President's popularity declining while Bobi Wine's rises.

Mr Kyagulanyi had on Monday made strong statements, criticising the way opposition politicians are treated saying they are tortured while the country is "posing with the rhetoric of democracy."

In his missive on Sunday, Mr Museveni described himself as a defender of democracy and strongly criticised some opposition leaders for disrespecting the Public Order Management Act.

“You cannot be rallying and processioning for an illegitimate reason – preaching lies, preaching sectarianism, preaching hate. Those who made mistakes to tolerate such bogusness, paid a heavy price.

“Did you see the massacre in New Zealand? How about the ones in Sri Lanka recently, in France, in Belgium, in Norway etc.? How about the mega problem that occurred in Rwanda? These tragedies in those areas started with pseudo – and bogus preachers,” the President's statement read.



But in a response vilified by the ruling party supporters as “hollow”, Mr Kyagulanyi wrote:

“The first point was restoration of democracy! Is democracy rigging elections? Just to remind you of what you did during the 2016 election- you deployed the military on the streets, delivered polling materials many hours later in Kampala and Wakiso, switched off social media and mobile money, arrested agents for opposition candidates, impoverished opposition candidates while blocking their sources of funding, blocked their campaign rallies, beat up our people, manipulated the voting system, and literally declared yourself duly elected! Is this democracy to you?”

He added: “Cracking down on any form of dissent? Suspending journalists from media houses for publishing the truth? Using the police and the military to disperse peaceful citizens whenever they assemble to express their discontent? What democracy is there in framing your opponents with bogus charges, torturing them, and denying them the opportunity to reach the people? What happened to the guns, which your government said were found in my hotel room in Arua?”

Mr Kyagulanyi also posed:

“What democracy is there in plucking Dr Kizza Besigye off radio stations, and banning my songs from playing on the media airways because they criticise your wrongs? What democracy is there in imprisoning Dr Stella Nyanzi for speaking out against corruption and nepotism?”

A highly contested poll conducted by Research World International showed that newcomer Bobi Wine, would edge out opposition doyen Dr Besigye, although both would come in behind President Museveni.

Both ruling party and many opposition politicians have since dismissed the poll as "useless, ungrounded, shallow and fake."

On Tuesday, Bobi Wine revealed former NTV news anchor, Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, as the new spokesperson for his People Power Movement.

Kassanda North MP Patrick Nsamba, Francis Zaake of Mityana Municipality and Gafa Mbwatekamwa (Kasambya County MP) were present at the news conference.

Mr Kyagulanyi said he was in talks with several other people to form his cabinet with time.

"We have been talking with other people and I am hoping that we can get the whole cabinet. We are, however, strategically placed across the whole country and very soon our whole crew will be put before the media," Bobi Wine said.

Mr Ssenyonyi said he had been thinking about joining the frontline for the change the country is looking for and he thinks this is the right time.

"I have been in the media and posting things on social media and talking about many things but I felt this was not enough. That is why I have finally joined today and I am here to stay," Mr Ssenyonyi said.