By Badru Walusansa, Uganda Youth Correspondent, Commonwealth
I think I am one of the few, (if not many), sober Ugandans who took so long to ponder about the possibility that Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine could at one time be a threatening factor to Museveni’s grip on power. Upon his election as Kyadondo East legislator, I wrote an article in the Observer newspaper, wherein I cautioned Bobi Wine against his overly raised political ambitions especially at an early stage of his political career. Forgive my short-sightedness then, perhaps my doubts in the singer-turned-politician were fairly justifiable in a sense that those who were born after 1986 have never experienced or witnessed any transfer of power from one President to another.
The above anecdote reminds me of some of our childhood recollections especially when asked to share what our future dreams were. If I can reminisce very well, majority of us boldly dreamt of becoming Presidents and that was reflected in the way we mimicked some of the inspirational Presidents (at the time), both locally and internationally. However, as time went on, the once renowned liberator, through gratification transformed into a self-crowned-life President. Certainly, I am not sure whether it is even safe for one to bear the dream of becoming President-in the now politically hostile Uganda. Of course, those within the corridors of power don’t need to inform us that President Museveni’s appetite for power is bigger than Uganda itself.
Surprisingly, in the evening of Museveni’s rule, there erupted a nascent political voice roared by a young man in his mid-30s. Notwithstanding the fact that Bobi Wine is a political novice, he has been able to chart a new wave of political trajectory which many youths can identify with. This has therefore won him popular support among the youth thus christening him all sorts of titles including the “new face of the struggle.”
I have however heard selfish voices within opposition circles claiming that Bobi Wine is new in the struggle and hence cannot be fronted as the face of the struggle. With all due respect, I find the intellect of such opposition politicians wanting and therefore they need to be reminded that Bobi’s contribution to struggle dates back, more than a decade ago, when he attempted to speak against the excesses of those in authority. What better way could people have appreciated his message than through his music?
Whether Bobi Wine is able to leverage his increasingly growing political capital to assume the highest office in the country or not, he has already set pace for many young people, probably in our generation to shape their dreams and make a meaningful contribution to their country however minute it could be.
Needless to say, Bobi Wine has become a saint to very many young people who not only yearn for political change but would also want to directly take charge of their destiny. What Bobi’s tormentors have deliberately failed to grasp is that he [Bobi Wine] comes with an ideology which is saleable to the masses and therefore fighting him is like chasing after the wind.
Bobi Wine’s multi-faceted background coupled with his resilience offers a big lesson to our generation especially to many struggling young people out there, that despite the circumstances, one should not be deterred from speaking up against injustices in society. What therefore needs to be done is to show our importance as a generation, even if it means turning all of us into political prisoners like the current regime has decided with Bobi.
Through his “people power” sloganeering, we have for the first time seen the youth make appearance on the political scene to protest against the regime’s excesses. Although, there were existing political structures for the youth, these were indirectly influenced and controlled by mainstream political parties and or politicians. In addition, those youth political structures are characterized by co-option and as such are impotent to actively engage the youth into reclaiming political power. Therefore, Bobi’s take-over should revitalize pro-activeness among the youth to defy the status quo and ensure that they are the new managers of the country they want.
By and large, Bobi Wine is treading where angels fear to tread and, on that note, I am aware that the regime is likely to frustrate his ambitions and is well equipped to defeat his dreams. However, even if the regime opts to go that direction, no amount of defeat can be administered against the spirit of “Kyagulanyi effect” that has been inculcated in us.