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Bobi Wine to attend Buganda Kingdom’s concert

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By HALIMA ABDALLAH
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All eyes turn to the end of year grand concert at Buganda Kingdom’s main palace as music increasingly takes centrestage in settling political contests in Uganda.

Singer-turned -politician Robert Kyagulanyi – better known by his stage name Bobi Wine – who since being elected Member of Parliament in 2017 has become a thorn in the flesh of the regime, is expected to be among the host of performers at the Enkuuka (grand concert) on New Year’s Eve.

The current toast of the crowds who is trying to upstage President Yoweri Museveni, Bobi Wine has had at least half a dozen shows cancelled at the last minute in the past three months, with police arguing that the concerts did not meet sections of the Public Order Management Act.

But Enkuuka is not just any ordinary show; besides being the biggest end of year party in Uganda, it has since inception been graced by Buganda monarch Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, whose kingdom itself has had several run-ins with the government.

How the police handle this concert without inciting the kingdom diehards on one hand and Bobi Wine’s red army of fans on the other, is tricky.

“We are having background meetings with the organisers and we have planned for yet another meeting. Police gave the go-ahead a long time ago and Bobi Wine is not a factor, so when he comes he will perform,” police spokesman Emilian Kayima told TheEastAfrican.

However, Mr Kayima’s assurances run counter to what the security agencies have done recently, the latest case being when the police blocked Bobi Wine’s concert at One Love Beach on December 26, firing teargas canisters and spraying the revellers that had turned up early with water cannons.

The complexity of Bobi Wine’s presence last week left the concert organisers divided whether to allow the musician play politics during performances where his fans don the red outfits that have become synonymous with political opposition protest popularised by the campaign against the lifting of the presidential age limit in 2017.

Telecom giant MTN Uganda is sponsoring the end of year concert at Lubiri that is being jointly organised by Luba Events and Abitex Ltd.

At a media conference on December 27, Luba Events director Moses Lubuulwa warned that Bobi Wine should desist from playing politics, and his fans should not don red colours.

Mr Lubuulwa emphasised that Bobi Wine was invited to perform as an artiste and not a politician.

“This is not his show but a show for the Kabaka,” he told the media conference.

Abbey Musinguzi of Abitex Ltd, however, urged people to wear any colours of their choice, though he cautioned Bobi Wine not to play politics at an entertainment event.

Fellow singers also share the view that no one can dictate what colour for the revellers to wear.

“There is no dress code that has been legalised to be worn by any political party so you cannot criminalise people for wearing what they want. If that is the case, then some colours should be gazetted to be worn as dress codes. We have to be ourselves,” said Kampala-based musician Ronald Mayinja.

Meanwhile, public apprehension is growing that the show could be interrupted by the police.

“I hope that they will not disrupt Enkuuka, but let us wait and see because I cannot predict the future,” said Mr Mayinja.

After the police blocked Bobi Wine’s show at One Love Beach on December 26 – which the singer has held for the past 10 years – a section of his fans responded by engaging in running battles with the police in Kampala.

“Up to now, we have not been given any official reason why the show was blocked…” said Bobi Wine.



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