Uganda: Kyarenga Concert - Namboole Tells Bobi Wine to Try Again in 2019

Robert Kyagulanyi.
21 October 2018

Less than three days after they signed an agreement on a new date for the Kyarenga music concert, the management of Namboole stadium has now reportedly informed Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi that the facility has been booked until January 2019.

Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine had sought for an alternative date after his October 20 Kyarenga album launch concert got blocked by police on grounds that it was not part of the events booked to utilize the facility on that day - among them a wedding.

However on October 20, there was no sign of any events at the stadium. Bobi Wine through his event managers, Emma Promotionz and Marketing Agency met with Namboole managers and rescheduled the launch to Friday November 9. Namboole set three conditions including - securing written police permission, making full payment and no access to the turf during the event.

But yesterday Saturday, Namboole informed Bobi Wine that the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa) had written to them on October 17 urging management to call off the rescheduled concert.

"It has come to the Federation notice, that Mandela national stadium management has entered into an engagement to have a public event take place on 9th November 2018 within the stadium." reads the Fufa letter signed by CEO Edgar Watson Suubi.

"In our opinion any public event within the international football match period will put the stadium into an unacceptable standard to the detriment of CAF docking off points from the Uganda Cranes for the upcoming match due on Saturday 17th November 2018 with Cape Verde. As you are already aware CAF [Confederation of African Football] already warned Uganda on the stadium standard after a similar event was organised before the Uganda Cranes played in October 2017 last year."

FUFA warned Namboole that they have been put under the "red flag" by CAF and the Cranes game against Cape Verde may be put off. Bobi Wine says he'd committed to respect the turf/grass conditions set by Namboole and finds it 'shameful' though not surprising that the show has been cancelled again.

"They ran out of excuses and we chose Friday 9th, November! They gave us very tough conditions for the use of the stadium thinking that we would not meet them. One of them was that out fans must not use the turf/grass during the show, and they imposed a very huge fine if this was violated. We complied with all the conditions and signed the necessary documents with them. Having rebooked the venue, we made fresh adverts and started advertising the new date." said Bobi Wine on Facebook.

"Please note that the same stadium has so many other events scheduled and none has been canceled except our concert!" he added. "How can the regime be very scared of Ugandans meeting for a music show, simply because it is hosted by Bobi Wine?! I also know that they are doing everything possible to block all my businesses and other sources of income."

Bobi Wine said they have started looking for alternative venues and will hold the concert "pretty soon". Similarly last year, police blocked Bobi Wine's countrywide concerts on grounds that he'd failed to differentiate between Bobi Wine the musician, and Robert Kyagulanyi, the politician.

Through his lawyers, M/s Rwakafuuzi & Co. Advocates, Bobi Wine sued Kampala Metropolitan police commander, Frank Mwesigwa and the attorney general in the High court (Civil Division) seeking for Shs 300 million in compensation for the cancelled concerts in Mukono, Kamuli, Kasese and Kampala. The case has never been heard.

Some government officials have publicly and privately raised concerns over Bobi Wine's concerts - warning of catastrophic consequences. They argue that Bobi Wine, who, has a massive appeal among the youth that make up majority of the population and has a global appeal, could be using the concert to rally the youth into massive city protests similar to the Arab spring protests to bring an end to President Yoweri Museveni's strong grip on power.

Since launching his political career last year, Bobi Wine has faced a blot of ugly politics including blocked concerts, having grenades thrown at his house, him and his supporters arrested, tortured, foreign communication assistants forced out of the country, charged with treason and having his movements restricted.

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