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President rallies African youth to participate in politics

While appearing on the Newzroom Afrika TV exclusive interview in South Africa on June 15th, the President H.E Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert alias Bobi Wine explained the purpose of his visit which he said was to screen the documentary film and also use the same platform to highlight the state of the human rights in Uganda.

“Every year, we have a human rights accountability conference which we definitely cannot hold in Uganda because of obvious reasons; the last time we held it in Kenya and we took opportunity again thanks to the FNF foundation, to have a human right violations and testimonies here in South Africa,” he told the host.

The president also explained his transition from being a pop star to a fierce critic of the Gen. Museveni. He said being a musician was less problematic but he was inspired to get into politics for a cause of liberating his country from the suffering and injustices.

“I came into politics not to be president per se but to inspire young people to see what must be seen so that they can do what must be done,” he said.

He threw light on his worst experience as a regime critic. He described his rise to political prominence as a journey that inspired a movement of young people. He said this prompted repression from the Gen. Museveni regime to tackle the rising mass of young people who have for long yearned for change.

“Our generation was the biggest threat to Gen. Museveni’s now 38 year hold onto power and he responded with a massive crackdown with brutality, extrajudicial killings, abductions and of course imprisonment for myself. I don’t look at my plight in isolation of the rest because if anything, I’ve been the luckiest because I’ve gone to prison but I’ve been able to come back. I’ve been tortured but I’ve not lost an eye or a limb. Most of my friends don’t have either teeth or eyes. Many of them were taken away never to be seen again. So it has been a crackdown not on just me but an entire generation,” he said. “I survived an assassination attempt in 2018 where my driver (Yasin Kawuuma) was killed, I was taken to military, tortured and beaten and many of my friends killed. But again, that emboldened me and in 2021 I ran against Gen. Museveni and during the campaigns I was arrested in Luuka District, prompting massive demonstrations and protests and in two days (November 18-20, 2020) there was a massacre where women and children including the elderly were killed. Although the regime in Uganda admitted to killing 54, there were dozens of people killed. But we didn’t stop, neither did they stop and abductions continued to the present day. So it has been an ongoing effort by us to free ourselves but also by them to stop us from breaking the chains,” he added.

The president also recounted the 2017 age limit fracas when he back then was a legislator for Kyandondo East in the tenth parliament of Uganda.

“Gen. Museveni has been extending his stay in power first by removing term limits in 2005. When time came and he was held back by age in 2017, he used the military, raided parliament. Ultimately and forcefully again the constitution was amended to prolong Gen. Museveni’s stay. That’s what prompted me to challenge this guy. We needed a protest vote to challenge this guy. Uganda is the second youngest country in the world with more than 85% under the age of 35. We challenged him and defeated him in 2021 and the world knows all this,” he said. “In Uganda we don’t have elections, we have rituals because you cannot claim to have elections when you have the main opposition challenger is arrested on the nomination date. An election where the main opposition party is not allowed to organize. We had an election in a full blackout where the internet was switched off, international observers were notably US and EU were not allowed in the country, my campaign team was rounded up on an island and many of them remain in prison on the present day,” he recounted.

On the South African democracy that has just manifested in the 2024 polls, the president said, “South Africa is not where it deserves to be, but it is where many of us desire to at least reach. Here people are voting for issues, but back there (Uganda) we are struggling to look for a voice, for a vote to matter,” he said. He hailed the South African system for at least respecting the voice and will of the people that vote unlike in Uganda where the vote ‘does not count’.

He furthermore called on the African youths to rise and get involved in the politics of their respective countries.

“It is unfortunate to see that Africa is largely governed by elderly people, making plans for young people. And I think it should be a clarion call for young people all over Africa to get actively involved in the politics of their countries because they indeed can. Historically in Africa all the change that has been inspired has been done in youthful days. Look at the times of Mandela, these were young people and it’s in their youthful times that they made the biggest contribution to Africa. So we must look back and get inspired,” he said. See full interview

The President was in company of 5 torture victims who were to share their predicament with an audience of comrades in South Africa. On his delegation included comrades; Ssebuganda Richard, a Makerere University medical school graduate who lost his fingers to a police teargas canister in 2022, Masereka Samuel, a torture victim who was abducted by CMI in 2021, Monica Nabukeera (Mrs. Kibalama John Bosco), John Bosco Ngoya (comrade Locoto’s brother, shot dead this year 2024), Bashir Kasagga a political activist and comrade who was abducted and tortured in September 2022. The five shared their plight before the audience that was plunged in shock after learning what they went through at the hands of the Gen. Museveni regime.

The five shared their plight at Rosebank cinema hall in Johannesburg, South Africa. Our documentary film #BobiWineThePeoplesPresident was screened to the audience to have a firsthand view of events that manifested in the 2021 general elections. The film was broadcast with support from the Friedrich Naumman Foundation, a platform that advocates for democracy and good governance.

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