After claiming to have received death threats, Uganda’s Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known by his artiste name Bobi Wine, woke to explosives rocking his residence in the wee hours of October 3.
Ugandan police said they were investigating the incident, which also affected another opposition member of parliament, Makindye West representative, Mr Allan Ssewanya. Rubaga North MP Mr Moses Kasibante also had similar attacks in the early morning hours last week at his residence.
Events took an unexpected turn as Mr Kyagulanyi was detained later in the day, right after he left his house with fellow opposition members of parliament who had come to comfort him.
The police claimed the legislators were heading to Kampala’s city centre to cause chaos and bundled him and three other legislators with him in a police van, driving them off to the police station. Their arrest was later confirmed.
THE MAN’S JOURNEY
Mr Kyagulanyi has been very vocal since Raphael Magezi, the Igara West Member of Parliament, brought in an amendment bill seeking to strike out the age limit bill in Uganda’s Tenth Parliament.
In a television interview soon after he was released after following his arrest when he got back to Ugandan soil from the US last month, he said that a party that had ruled for more than thirty years that didn’t have a successor yet groomed to take over from Mr Museveni had already failed.
Mr Kyagulani was born in 1982, in what is now called Gomba District, to Jackson Wellington Ssentamu.
There is little information about his mother, other than her dying at fifteen. He has nine siblings, although 39 in total share his father’s blood.
He grew up in the Kamwookya slum in the northeast part of Kampala. He was a bright student.
He did his O-Level education at St. Maria Gorret Senior Secondary School Katende, Brain Trust Academy and Kitante Hill Secondary School, before doing his A-Levels at Alliance Secondary School and Kololo Senior Secondary School, respectively.
He joined Makerere University to pursue a degree in anthropology but two years later changed his study to music, drama and dance. His first song, “Akagoma” (the drum), was released while he was still in campus in 2002. The song was a dancehall track sang in Baganda which shot him into the limelight. He graduated from university in 2003.
THE RISE OF BOBI
Bobi Wine is a celebrated artiste and is also known by another moniker “Ghetto President” as many say his songs resonate with the ordinary, struggling Ugandan citizen.
In 2009, he collaborated with Wahu on “Little Things You Do”.
He has had a long standing feud with fellow dancehall artiste Bebe Cool whose father, Jaberi Bindandi Ssali is a former Ugandan minister. Bebe Cool is also an open supporter of Mr Museveni.
In April 2017, Bobi Wine announced his candidature to run for parliament in the then upcoming by-elections for the Kyaddondo East Constituency.
He campaigned by going house to house and come the elections in June he beat his two seasoned opponents by a sizeable margin. Ever since he was sworn in, his debates have caused a stir especially since the amendment on the age limit bill was introduced to parliament. He has been fighting it vigorously saying he wants to protect the future of Uganda from Museveni’s lack of vision.
“I want him to retire in dignity, but if not we will force him to,” he has said before.
His popularity seems to be growing in the face of everything he’s currently facing, and even though he is showing signs of physical fatigue and sometimes a genuine fear for his wellbeing, he doesn’t seem to be relenting any time soon. Maybe he might yet see another “president” title in the horizon for him.