Uganda: My MPs Work for Museveni - Bobi Wine

National Unity Platform (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
6 December 2023

Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, popularly known as Bobi Wine, who leads Uganda's National Unity Platform (NUP), recently made a startling revelation during an interview with the UK's BBC radio.

Kyagulanyi, returning to the UK nearly a decade after a ban imposed due to his controversial statements on gay rights, accused several members of his party of secretly aligning with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the National Resistance Movement.

This accusation comes in the wake of the contentious anti-homosexuality law, which Kyagulanyi argues was primarily enacted to suppress opposition figures. In a candid response, Kyagulanyi acknowledged that despite his party's stand, all NUP members of parliament had voted in favor of the law.

He suggested that this unanimous support could indicate covert cooperation between these members and President Museveni.

"In my party, I have members of parliament that are working with Gen Museveni," Kyagulanyi asserted, casting a shadow of doubt over the loyalty and motives of his party members. This statement has stirred up political discussions, raising questions about internal party dynamics and the broader implications for Uganda's political landscape.

In the ongoing political narrative of Uganda, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine, has repeatedly leveled accusations against certain members of his own party, the National Unity Platform (NUP), for allegedly collaborating with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). Despite these recurrent claims, Kyagulanyi has often stopped short of specifically identifying the individuals involved.

However, the situation gained clarity when two NUP members of parliament, Twaha Kagabo of the Bukoto South constituency in Lwengo district and Jimmy Lwanga of Njeru municipality in Buikwe district, publicly declared their support for General Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Kainerugaba, notably the son of President Museveni, has shown interest in running for the presidency in the 2026 elections. This open endorsement from Kagabo and Lwanga not only lends credence to Kyagulanyi's allegations but also adds a new dimension to the political dynamics within the NUP, highlighting potential rifts and alignments ahead of the upcoming electoral season.

The development marks a significant moment in Ugandan politics, underscoring the complexities of party loyalty and individual political ambitions. In a recent interview, Kyagulanyi was questioned about his stance on the Anti-homosexuality Act, particularly whether he would repeal it if he were to become the president of Uganda.

Kyagulanyi's response was notably cautious and indirect. He expressed his belief that the Act was not introduced for the benefit of the Ugandan people but, rather, as a tool for the current regime to suppress opposition, including himself. Kyagulanyi emphasized the risks associated with speaking out against the law, noting that it could endanger not only himself but also his loved ones.

His guarded response highlights the complexities and potential dangers involved in addressing such sensitive and polarizing issues within Ugandan politics.

"This law was not introduced by Museveni in the interest of the Ugandan people; rather, it was designed to target the opposition, including myself. He knows it can be used to crack down on anyone perceived to be supportive of that community. This means that anything I say about the law not only puts me at risk but also endangers my loved ones. I must be very cautious, as I am aware that its primary purpose is to target the opposition, especially me," Kyagulanyi stated.

The Anti-homosexuality Bill, now an Act, was originally presented as a private member's bill by Asuman Basalirwa, the member of parliament for Bugiri municipality and president of the opposition party, Justice Forum. Remarkably, the bill received widespread support across political lines, gaining backing from both opposition members and the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

This rare instance of cross-party consensus reflects the nuanced and often unpredictable nature of legislative politics in Uganda, where issues may transcend traditional party boundaries.

Members of parliament in Uganda, cutting across party lines, have historically argued for the need to protect children from what they perceive as corrupting Western morals, including homosexuality. This stance led to the enactment of the Anti-homosexuality Act, which enjoys widespread popularity among the majority of Ugandans, a deeply religious populace whose faiths typically oppose such practices.

Kyagulanyi and the leadership of his party, the National Unity Platform (NUP), have navigated a complex political landscape concerning this Act. They have not taken a formal stance on the issue, balancing the Act's popularity in Uganda against its unpopularity in the West.

Western nations, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and the European Union, have criticized the Act, viewing it as an affront to human rights.

This dichotomy places Kyagulanyi and the NUP in a precarious position: opposing the Act risks alienating their domestic support base, which largely favors it, while supporting it could estrange their Western allies, who are against it.

This balancing act has led to accusations from the government that Kyagulanyi and some top figures in his party are prioritizing foreign interests over Ugandan interests. However, Kyagulanyi has openly acknowledged and celebrated his foreign connections, which he believes are instrumental in undermining the long-standing favoritism of the West towards President Museveni.

Currently, on a tour of the United Kingdom, Kyagulanyi has expressed his view in a BBC interview that the international community is key to ending Museveni's nearly four-decade rule. His visit aims to promote the interests of his party, reflecting his strategy of leveraging international support to influence domestic political change.

When approached for a comment on Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu's claim that the anti-homosexuality law targets the opposition, Asuman Basalirwa, the MP who sponsored the bill, dismissed the need for a response.

"I have no time for what is not important," Basalirwa stated, indicating his reluctance to engage in discussions surrounding Kyagulanyi's assertions.

Similarly, Joyce Bagala Ntwatwa, the Woman MP for Mityana district and the shadow minister for information, declined to comment on the topic, choosing to remain silent on the controversial issue.

On the other hand, Kyagulanyi, when questioned about his views from 2014 when a similar law was enacted but later annulled by the Constitutional court for lack of quorum, reflected a change in his stance. He acknowledged that his perspectives have evolved over time, becoming more tolerant toward those who differ from him.

"Certainly, we keep growing and we transform. I'm a product of very many second chances, and I want to be known as a leader who is respectful and inclusive of everybody," Kyagulanyi articulated.

This statement signifies his personal growth and a shift towards a more inclusive approach in his political journey.

AllAfrica publishes around 500 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.