Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and his members of Cabinet failed to tell Members of Parliament on Thursday why government is selectively blocking the performances of Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine.
An official statement on the general state of security in the country and specifically the events surrounding the blocking of Bobi Wine concerts was read on the floor of Parliament by the Internal Affairs Minister, JeJe Abubaker Odongo.
Aware that spontaneous gathering is not subject to the Public Order Management Law, Gen. Odongo carefully dodged quoting it, and instead told MPs that Bobi Wine was not on the list of musicians expected to perform in recent Jinja. Members of Parliament laughed off the minister’s claims.
The statement attracted a bipartisan debate where the majority ruling National Resistance Movement members, opposition and independents openly disagreed with the government position.
Out of 34 MPs who contributed to the debate, only two partially supported the government position.
Rt. Col. Fred Mwesigye (NRM) of Nyabushozi county in Kiruhura district and Bukanga county MP Stephen Kangwagye (NRM), a former Presidential Guard Brigade member, argued that police which has the constitutional mandate to detect and prevent crime should be accorded the opportunity to do their work.
Mwesigye also told MPs like Bobi Wine got the opportunity to shine because of the conducive environment ushered in by the NRM government.
“There were no musicians before the coming of NRM to power. The government has created an environment for musicians like our colleague to thrive,” said Col. Fred Mwesigye.
The remaining 32 members stressed that the State is selectively targeting and stifling Bobi Wine’s talent and also denying him means of making money.
Staunch NRM members like Nakifuma county representative, Robert Kafeero Sekitoleko and Bunyole West’s James Waluswaka, who supported the age limit amendment last year stated that the government was making a mistake.
“It is disturbing to see the government I support make mistakes. Stopping Bobi Wine from performing is violating his economic right and is against our Constitution,” said Sekitoleko.
Rugunda, who is also the leader of government business in Parliament together with the Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana who were present in the house, failed to make a response to inquisitive MPs.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told the members of the Executive to find a careful way of resolving the matter since the concerts economically benefit many other Ugandans.
“During those concerts, there are people selling meat, beverages and many others. It’s a source of livelihood to many. Government should balance the boat,” said Kadaga.