Ugandan Reggae lovers are delighting in the fact that their embattled Reggae singer and presidential candidate, Bobi Wine, will be gracing the Rebel Salute 2020 stage next week, for the second time in a row, after being banned from performing in his own country.
The self-styled Ghetto Gladiator, who has been listed by Forbes magazine as one of the richest musicians in Uganda, gained many new Jamaican fans after his riveting performance at Rebel Salute in January 2019.
“Thanks Mr Tony Rebel For recognizing Bobi Wine, the Ghetto child, the Ghetto gladiator, the hope of the Ghetto people, our hope… here in Uganda, the government banned all his shows, and his music can’t be played loudly in the public without police interruption,” Rhex Wonderz jh Bwoy noted on the event Facebook page where the show’s line-up was posted.
Other followers heaped praises on Tony Rebel, the promoter of the event, for giving the artiste the opportunity to use Rebel Salute as a platform for pursuing reform in his country and, according to them, get dictatorship out of Uganda in 2021 when elections are due. Some clamored for the event to be streamed on social media platforms so that Bobi Wine’s compatriots could see him perform.
“Rebel Salute, here in Uganda we miss him on stage coz he’s not allowed to sing, please help us at least we watch him on live Facebook,” Benson Apuuli pleaded.
Tony Rebel had confirmed from a far back as May 2019 that Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Ssentamu, had been booked for the two-night show, a week after he was arrested in his country and placed in a maximum-security prison and charged with inciting violence. The artiste had pleaded not guilty and told his accusers that he was only being targeted because he disagrees with the country’s political leadership, particularly President Yoweri Museveni.
Bobi Wine has been in a standoff with Ugandan authorities since April 2019 after police surrounded his home a day after canceling his nationwide shows, which they claimed had failed to meet required safety standards. The singer was also ejected from his car by police and escorted to his home while he was on the way to a briefing he had called to address the cancellation of the events and police brutality.
In July 2018, Bobi Wine, who has been MP for Kyaddondo East constituency in Wakiso District, in Uganda’s Central Region since July 2017, reportedly joined his compatriots in a demonstration against an unpopular social media usage tax, which would see citizens paying daily levy to use sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter, making internet usage less accessible to ordinary Ugandans.
Rebel had also contended that the 36-year-old was one of the emerging leaders coming out of Africa in recent times, who are connecting with the people in a way in which “those leaders who have been in power for 30 and 40 years cannot do”.
“His popularity as a musician has transcended into politics and he is the MP of a province that has over 1.75 million people,” Tony Rebel had told The Gleaner.