Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Bobi Wine to return to Uganda on Monday

Ugandan reggae star-turned-resistance leader Bobi Wine will return to Uganda on Monday, he told the Mail & Guardian.

“I’ll be going back home on Monday. Of course I’m worried, but that’s my home, that’s where my family is, that’s where all my people are. I’m worried but 44-million Ugandans are also worried. That’s where home is,” he said in an interview.

He is aware of the risks involved. “You can expect anything from Uganda. Because looking back in history many freedom fighters have been rudely arrested upon arrivals and I am not any different, so there is anything to expect.”

Wine – whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu – left Uganda in early September to seek medical attention in the United States, after sustaining severe injuries while in detention at a military barracks. “I’m getting better,” he said.

Wine, a member of parliament, was arrested on August 13 following a disturbance in Arua, where a crowd of Wine supporters threw stones at the convoy of President Yoweri Museveni. Security forces later returned to forcibly disperse the crowd. In the ensuing violence, 36 people were assaulted and/or arrested, including Wine, and one person was killed – Wine’s driver Yasiin Kawuma.

Wine and 11 others were charged with treason in connection with the incident, but are currently out on bail. Wine has accused the security forces of torturing him while he was in custody.

Wine’s surging popularity has clearly rattled Museveni, who has been in power for more than three decades. And it’s catching on: two other independent candidates have won shock parliamentary by-election victories after receiving Wine’s support.

“My message has resonated so much with ordinary Ugandans because I am an ordinary Ugandan, personally. I don’t come from any of the upper classes. I am a ghetto child. My story has been there for everybody to see. When they look at me they see themselves represented, when I speak they hear the voice of millions echoing through me. They know I feel their pain,” Wine said.

Wine said he will not let the threat of further violence against either him or his supporters deter him. “I will just continue what I have been doing, encouraging Ugandans to get involved in the leadership of their country, to take part, to play their part, to stand up and demand for their rights,” he said.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Simon Allison
Simon Allison
Simon Allison is the Africa editor of the Mail & Guardian, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Continent. He is a 2021 Young Africa Leadership Initiative fellow.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

Environmental groups welcome China’s pledge on coal

Will China’s end of coal finance be the final nail in the coffin for MMESZ?

More top stories

South Africa breaking more temperature records than expected

The country’s climate is becoming ‘more extreme’ as temperature records are broken

Environmentalists are trying to save South Africa’s obscure endangered species

Scientists are digging for De Winton’s golden moles, working on the mystery of the riverine rabbit and using mesh mattresses to save the unique Knysna seahorse

Shadow states infest Africa’s democracies

Two recent reports show evidence that democracy in Africa is being threatened by private power networks

The West owes Africa $100bn (at least) for climate recovery

In fewer than three days, a US citizen emits as much carbon as a person from Chad or Niger does in one year. Such is the asymmetry in culpability for climate change.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…