Uganda civil society belies Museveni over Bobi Wine’s health

A group of civil society groups in Uganda have contradicted the president’s claims about the health of a detained opposition lawmaker.


According to the coalition government had to ensure that all persons in the security forces who took part in torturing MP Bobi Wine and others be brought to book.

“The security forces, led by the Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) should provide a list of all their officers that took part in this unprofessional conduct and present them to the courts of law for justice to be attained by all parties affected.

“Extra judicial killings, torture and mutilation of citizens has never been part of the Terms of reference of any security organ. In fact the security forces are enjoined to respect the rule of law, the statement added.

The above being one of other demands in a 10-point statement titled Ugandans Must Unite Against Tyranny and Impunity Now! They called on Parliament of Uganda to stand up and assert its authority and to protect its members and Ugandans as a whole.

They addressed the president tasking him to be the fountain that reassures the world that his government respects rights of citizens. The statement also condemned acts of violence by the state and directed towards it.

Their call comes almost 24-hours after President Museveni gave an update on the health status particularly of MP Bobi Wine – who he described as indisciplined.

“Greetings. Some days have gone by while what President Trump calls “fake news” generators, especially the Monitor and their TV, the NTV, have been putting it out that our grandson, the indisciplined Bobi Wine, is gravelly ill, he cannot talk etc.

“They were putting it out that because of their “rough” handling of the MPs while arresting them, the Security forces could have done grievous damage to Bobi Wine.

“I decided to check with Army doctors because, being a disciplined Army, UPDFdoctors always take precautions in such situations. Bobi Wine had already been seen by doctors in Arua, Gulu and Kampala. He has no head or chest injuries or bone fractures, they informed me,” the president wrote.

On Thursday, two lawyers who attended a military court session where one of the MPs, Robert Kyagulanyi, was brought in to be charged said he was unable to talk or walk, bore visible injuries and was not aware of his surroundings.

Security agents barred other people, including Kyagulanyi’s wife and relatives, from attending the hearing.

Kyagulanyi, a popular musician known by his stage name Bobi Wine, was first elected to parliament last year. He has since amassed a large following among youth electrified by his scathing criticism of Museveni sometimes delivered in his songs.

On Thursday, dozens of youths staged a protest in a suburb of the capital Kampala where Kyagulanyi has a recording studio. A police spokesman said 12 demonstrators had been arrested.

Images have also emerged on social media of Francis Zaake, another detained member of parliament, lying on a bed, eyes closed, his face swollen and with wounds on his palm.

“If Kyagulanyi or any of the others arrested in Arua is in the condition his lawyers described, and prosecutors do not urgently work to bring torture charges against those accountable, it will make a mockery of Uganda’s constitutional provisions against torture…,” said Maria Burnett, associate Africa director for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

 By Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban