New calling? Bobi Wine: Uganda's rising pop star politician

By AFP | Tuesday, Aug 21st 2018 at 00:00
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Musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine. [Courtesy]

A Ugandan pop star-turned MP was reportedly charged in a military court last Thursday with illegal possession of weapons, following his arrest after the presidential convoy was pelted with stones.

Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, was arrested last Tuesday in the north-western town of Arua and charged before a court martial in Gulu.

"Hon Kyagulanyi has today been arraigned before the General Court Martial in Gulu and charged... on accounts of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition," said a statement signed by army spokesman Brigadier Richard Karemire.

Mr Kyagulanyi has been held in custody pending his next court appearance due on August 23.

His lawyer Asuman Basalirwa complained that he had been unable to consult his client.

"The army has refused us access to him. Even his family has been denied access," he said.

Kyagulanyi was arrested campaigning for an opposition candidate in a hard-fought by-election that also drew President Yoweri Museveni in support of the ruling party candidate.

A crowd that jeered Museveni's convoy and broke his car window on Monday afternoon was dispersed by police who fired live rounds, killing Kyagulanyi's driver. The MP was arrested the following morning.

Last Thursday, Kyagulanyi's supporters in Kamwokya, in the capital, Kampala, burned tyres as they protested his detention.

"He is innocent, he has to be released unconditionally," shouted Yusuf Muranga during a running battle with police.

A group of four opposition MPs and 30 others who were arrested at the same time as Kyagulanyi appeared in a civilian court in Gulu to be charged with treason.

"The State claims they wanted to harm the person of the president," said lawyer Medard Ssegoona, confirming the treason charge.

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