Ugandan singer and opposition MP Robert Kyagulanyi, known by his stage name Bobi Wine, briefs journalist about abuses he says he suffered at the hands of the Ugandan authorities. By Eric BARADAT (AFP)
Ugandan politician Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as pop star Bobi Wine, said Thursday he was determined to return to Kampala despite having been indicted for treason and allegedly beaten by police.
Kyagulanyi, 36, said he would return home after finishing medical treatment for injuries he said he sustained when Ugandan police detained and beat him.
“I want to go home, I still want to continue to call upon all Ugandans to stand up for what they believe in,” said the reggae star, who entered parliament as an independent MP last year and was arrested last month after some of his supporters allegedly stoned President Yoweri Museveni’s car.
“There is a treason charge against me and I believe many more charges will come,” he told AFP in Washington. “I know I could go to prison, I still could be hanged, but also know I could be illegally assassinated. My driver was shot and killed while sitting in the same spot I’d been sitting just a few seconds before. I know everything is possible in Uganda.”
Kyagulanyi has become a lightning rod for opposition sentiment against Musaveni, the 74-year-old president who has ruled the country since 1986. After his arrest, police and soldiers violently put down protests against his treatment.
“I ask the US to stand with the oppressed, by stopping to facilitate the brutality,” said the singer, wearing his trademark red beret and walking with a crutch. “The gun that shot my driver is an American gun. The forces of oppression are mainly funded by the USA.”
His lawyer Robert Amsterdam also called on the US administration to “immediately” suspend military funding to Uganda and “launch immediately an investigation into the use of US equipment to torture Ugandan citizens.”
He said he would call on the administration to sanction any abusers under the Magnitsky Act, which can prevent travel to the United States and freeze the US-based assets of individuals identified as human rights violators.
“American arms and US equipment have been used to torture Ugandans,” he said.