Bobi Wine: I don’t like being called politician

Ugandan singer-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine

When you think of Bobi Wine you are wont to think of the budding face of an impending revolution in neighbouring Uganda.

With his days as a musician now long gone, his new image is that of a political messiah who just might deliver Uganda from Yoweri Museveni’s iron first.

For the last few days, Wine has taken Nairobi by storm - talk shows, TV interviews, lectures et al, under the wings of Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.

So busy has Wine been that our attempts to nail him for an interview in the last 48 hours had been next to impossible despite darting with him from one public event to another.

The man who transitioned from a professional boxer to a musician and now to what many now call a revolutionary, is a busy man.

When we traced him to the offices of the Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association on the 26th floor of KICC on Friday, we thought we had got him, only to find he had just left for another event. We were then re-directed to Ufungamano Hall where he was billed to address University of Nairobi students. By the time we got to Ufungamano, his entourage was also getting in. Not long after, he walked into the hall dressed in his red hat and cream traditional shirt and trousers with about eight security men in tow. A group of students who had led the online campaign dubbed #FreeBobiWine also walked behind.

Iconic hall

“People’s power, our power, power power, our power,” he screamed his preamble as he took to the floor, the responses reverberating across the iconic hall.

In his speech, he explained how over the years he had lost friends and been harassed by Government officers because he was a musician and powerless, saying that these were some of the things that made him join politics.

Still, the man who threw himself in the ring does not like being a politician. And he said as much in the Ufungamano meeting. The term politician is associated with bad things in Africa, he says. An hour later, Wine was at Pawa 254 premises on State House Crescent in yet another public engagement. We had been assured since we missed out on KICC and Ufungamano, we would get first priority.

Two hours later and he had not arrived. A few minutes past 6.30pm, he arrived in an entourage of three vehicles having changed to a grey suit, in the company of Owino, and TV siren Anne Kiguta.

When he was led to the area set aside for his TV interviews, activist Boniface Mwangi was hesitant to let him, saying that he was late for his concert. He nevertheless concedes to a two minute talk with everyone.

Once again, our chance to interview the man from Uganda had melted in thin ice. Yesterday, Wine started his day meeting with the members of the Association of Ugandans in Kenya along Thika road and later on headed for a political rally in Babu’s constituency.

Born Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, he released his first song in 1999 and later on became one of Uganda’s biggest artists.