Correspondent|Ugandan police detained popstar-turned-MP Bobi Wine on Monday after shutting down one of his concerts and firing tear gas at his fans, the singer’s wife and supporters said.
“He has been arrested in Busabala, where he was to address the media on the cancellation of his concert by the police,” Wine’s wife Barbie Itungo Kyagulanyi told AFP, referring to a suburb in southern Kampala.
Ugandan police spokesperson Fred Enanga confirmed that officers “engaged him earlier and drove him away from Busabala”, but would not say if he was formally arrested.
Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was scheduled to perform on Monday, but the much-anticipated show was cancelled by police.
His attempt to reach the venue on the shores of Lake Victoria, flanked by dozens of supporters, was blocked by police, who fired tear gas and water cannon at his convoy.
Before being detained, Wine posted on Twitter that police were trying to tow the singer’s car away.
“People teargassed, beaten, Many arrested. We shall overcome… Stand firm,” he wrote.
Later, a post on his Twitter account signed “admin” said the singer had been “violently arrested”.
Police said the concert was cancelled because inadequate safety measures were put in place.
Wine is among the most prominent critics of Uganda’s longtime President Yoweri Museveni, and authorities have repeatedly blocked him from performing publicly.
Young Ugandans have recently been energised by the singer-MP, who has become a thorn in the side of the government through his songs about social justice.
Museveni on Tuesday opened war on Bobi Wine who performs music with strong political messages in his music shows.
The no-nonsense National Resistance Movement chairman who took over power in Uganda three decades ago strongly warned he will not stomach musicians who take to the stage to perform music laced with political messages.
Speaking to members of Uganda Music Promoters and Venue Owners Network last week at State House, Museveni threatened that his government will not hesitate to block all shows featuring musicians who sing against him.
He further emphasized that police and his his government will not in away compensate any affected party of a cancelled show due to performance of politicised songs.
The president was meeting a group of stakeholders in the country’s entertainment industry to hand them billions of Shillings as compensation for losses they encountered after police cancelled the vocal legislator’s concerts.
The compensation came just days after some music promoters and events organisers lost their property to money lenders.
It should be noted some of the promoters had hired Bobi Wine for the Kyarenga concerts which were unceremoniously cancelled by the police.
Police had banned Bobi Wine’s concerts claiming his music were a threat to the country’s security and that the songs were base on political activism.