By Chris Zumani Zimba
When he appeared in the Kampala Court this morning, Uganda’s prominent Pop star, famously known as Bobi Wine who is now an MP-politician was on on crutches as it is believed that he was heavily tortured by the army while in their custody. BBC Africa reported that Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, appeared in court on crutches and had difficulty in sitting. Bobi Wine alongside 32 others have been in detention for nearly two weeks following allegations that they were behind the stoning of President Yoweri Museveni’s convoy during campaigning for a by-election in Arua municipality in north-western Uganda.
Following national, regional and international condemnation, this morning the court granted Bobi Wine and the other 32 who have been charged with treason with bail. Interestingly, the winner of the by-election, Kassiano Wadri, is among the accused, and had also been granted bail although he has been banned from visiting his constituency for three months without the permission of the court.
While the Uganda state vehemently continue to deny the allegations of military and police brutality in form of beatings and torture of the political detainees, it is widely allegedly that the musician-turned-lawmaker and his other defendants were seriously beaten up and physically tortured whilst they were in military custody.
In this case, President Yoweri Museveni has another rare opportunity and political test to demonstrate his commitment in upholding the values of democracy such as respect for human rights or political tolerance by intervening in the Bobi Wine case. The Ugandan government can “enter a no prosecution” and turn this case from a criminal one to a political one as a way of enhancing national unity and political stability. Unfortunately so far, the Ugandan government seem to brutally wining with Bobby with overt allegations of serious political oppression by the state as well as rampart violations of human rights in Kampala. But whatever the case, President Museveni can turn the tables for democracy, human rights and political tolerance on Bobi Wine and his defendant team.
Chris Zumani Zimba is a Political Scientist, Author, PhD Scholar, Lecturer, Researcher and Consultant