President Yoweri Museveni and Bobi Wine [Photo: Reuters/Edward Echwalu/Courtesy]

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has called his leading critic, musician-turned-politician, Bobi Wine, an “enemy of the country’s prosperity”, in an interview with the BBC.

The 36-year-old, affectionately known as the “ghetto president” has been a thorn in the side of Museveni since his election as MP in 2017.

Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulani, recently declared that he would challenge Museveni, 75, for the presidency in the 2021 election.

He is the leader of The People Power movement, which accuses the president of overseeing a system of oppression during his 33 years in power.

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Museveni rejected the accusation and said that his government is not repressive, but was dealing with Bobi Wine as an enemy:

“Bobi Wine went to America and said that people should not come invest in Uganda. That means he is an enemy of progress in Uganda.”

Contribution of elders

“When you go and tell foreigners that they should not come and invest in our country, you are waging war on our prosperity. So why then do you want to come and take advantage of that prosperity?

“That may be one of the reasons (for the cancellation of Bobi Wine’s concerts) I suspect, I have not talked to the police in details,” Museveni said. 

President Museveni said he still had unfinished business in Uganda as president and would only leave if asked to do so by his National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

“My home is waiting for me, but we have issues as Uganda to deal with. It is those issues that make us do what we decide to do politically along with our colleagues.

“If the fraternity of NRM think that they no longer require the contribution of the elders then we will happily go and do other things.

“We are not here for a show, we are not theatre goers, we are people who are here to deal with very big issues of Uganda and Africa.” 

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Museveni said that he saw unemployed youth in Uganda not as a “threat but an opportunity”.

He said that there were unexploited opportunities in agriculture and IT which young people should be willing to go for.

“One of the issues is the mentality because some of the people are looking for white-collar jobs instead of looking for (other jobs), there’s commercial agriculture, there’s industries, factories and services and IT, we are deliberately working on them to create jobs for our people,” he said.