Musician-turned-politician Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine has revealed security organs have blocked preparations for his music concert slated for today December 26 at One Love Beach, Busabala.
“A few minutes past midnight today, hordes of soldiers have been dropped by military trucks in Busabala,” said Bobi, adding, “They have surrounded my premises at One Love Beach, where we were organising a Boxing Day show later today.”
“They have ordered the stage and sound engineers to bring down the stage and pull down all materials we had put in place for the show,” he said.
Defence Spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire said, “this is a police-led operation.”
Informed that Bobi says the military has taken over at Busabala, Brig Karemire responded: “Even if there are military elements. This is a police-led operation.”
Police Spokesperson Emilian Kayima could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday morning.
The incident comes hardly a week a week after Members of Parliament criticized the Uganda Police Force and the Ministry of Internal Affairs for what they called discrimination and abuse of human rights by blocking shows organised by Bobi Wine.
Members said that Police cleared musical events but later blocked them on learning that Kyagulanyi was lined up as one of the performers.
The MPs, who were reacting to a statement by Internal Affairs Minister, Gen. Jeje Odongo, said the Police was wrongly using the Public Order Management Act and terming the legislators’ shows as political events.
MP Kyagulanyi, who is a known musical artiste, was on several occasions blocked from holding a show at Namboole National Stadium.
He later moved the event to his lakeside beach in Busabala.
Only recently, a show scheduled for Jinja was also stopped as Kyagulanyi was listed as one of the performers.
Govt speaks out
However, Minister Jeje Odongo justified Police action saying that it is the duty of the Police to maintain law and order especially during the festive season because of the increased level of crime.
“We stipulated guidelines to curb crimes like terrorism, mass murder, sexual crimes and others which could occur during these events; it is not wise to focus on economic benefits without taking care of public security,” he said.
He further stated that show organisers were supposed to meet several guidelines including indicating the expected number of revellers; the proposed traffic routes; measures and resources for emergency and measures put in place for crowd control.
Earlier today, says Bobi Wine, a Christmas music show that had been cleared by the police at Ggaba beach was immediately disrupted and blocked by soldiers and police the moment they learnt that he was one of the artistes going to perform.
He further says security forces ordered the stage and sound engineers to bring down the stage and pull down all materials they had put in place for the show.
“They have arrested my employees including the kitchen staff and all the people who were preparing to sell merchandise at the show,” he alleged.
“They have sent away our guests who were lodging at the Beach tonight and ordered all people out of the premises.”
It remains unclear if the show will go on as planned since Bobi says the “premises are completely cordoned off as if it’s a crime scene.”
Bobi has in recent months used music concerts to step up political rhetoric against the ruling government and rally his supporters to prepare for the 2021 elections where he is expected to stand for president.
Minister Jeje Odongo said the government would only allow concerts that “follow regulations” and advised artistes to “separate politics from music.”