Uganda: Lawyers Attack Police Over Blocking Bobi Wine Concerts

Photo: Bobi Wine
Bobi Wine (file photo).
20 December 2018

Kampala — Police's continued blocking of music shows of singer-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, dominated the Uganda Law Society (ULS) quarterly report released on Tuesday.

In the report dubbed; 'The State of the Rule of law in Uganda: Fourth Quarterly Report,' lawyers warn that the action infringes on the Kyandondo East MP's constitutional right to practice his lawful occupation as a musician.

"Article 40 (2) of the Constitution states that every person in Uganda has the right to practice his or her profession and to carry out any lawful occupation, trade or business," the ULS report reads in part.

"Funds had been spent to prepare the concert and the proceeds from it were beneficial to the legislator and his family as a source of income. However, the opportunity to enjoy the living was hindered by police and hence unconstitutional. No reasonable explanation for this conduct has been given so far," the report adds.

The lawyers recommend police to protect and respect constitutional rights as well as keep law and order.

On several occasions, the Force has disrupted or foiled music shows organised by the legislator without clear reasons.

Police first blocked Mr Kyagulanyi's "Kyarenga" concert, which had been slated to take place at Mandela National Stadium on October 20. The management of the stadium said the facility had been pre-booked to host two events.

Mr Kyagulanyi later relocated the show to his One Love Beach in Busabala on the outskirts of Kampala on November 10.

On December 2, police blocked the musician from performing in Gulu Municipality. The Force stopped the event, saying the organisers never got clearance from them to hold the concert. Last weekend, the pop star, who was slated to have a music show in Jinja District, said police had ordered his team out of town and escorted them up to Lugazi.

"They have beaten some of them, dragged them onto police pick-up cars and driven them to unknown destinations for no offence whatsoever," Mr Kyagulanyi posted on his social media platforms later.

However, police said he was initially not part of the music show.

On Tuesday, the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, asked the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, who heads government business in Parliament, to present a statement on the matter.

The report also cited the international covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Uganda is a party under Article 6 (1), that provides for the right of everyone the opportunity to gain his/her living by work which he/she freely chooses or accepts.

Other issues

The report also condemned the brutal arrest of Democratic Party supporter Yusuf Kawooya by plain-clothed operatives, blocking of Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda from holding a rally and FDC president Patrick Oboi from visiting Kasese and Mbarara districts.

It cited tensions between the land probe commission and the Judiciary, recommending that legitimate processes be followed when making complaints between State agencies.

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