""Art is the highest form of human intelligense. Our people are slowly embracing that, and art is connecting people". From intervju in "Voices"
Can music be stopped? This is a real challenge for President Museveni in Uganda. One of the country's most popular musicians, Bobi Wine, is in the front of opposition to him. Museveni has therefore given the media a ban on interviewing Wine, and concert organizers can no longer put Wine on program.
Bobi Wine is cultural activist, raised in Kampala's ghetto, and a popular musician with appeal to Uganda's young population. This summer he also was elected for Parliament. He won his circuit with seventy per cent of the votes. This autumn, Parliament should decide whether the upper age limit for the presidency was to be removed from the constitution. Museveni needs such a change in order to continue in his presidency, and Bobi Wine stood in the forefront to avoid the change. It ended with exclusion from parliament, repeated imprisonments and explosives through the windows of his house. The censorship is the latest in this long line of sanctions and treats from the president.
The media and concert bans have been impossible to enforce for Museveni. Bobi Wine is the national champion of social media. Images, words and music are shared in hundreds of thousands, and his live performances are done with unmatched strength. And the young people sing along, they dance and share tones and text. The Museveni-critical general Davis Sejusa recently made a Twitter message confirming the president's impossible project: "Bobi Wine represents the old struggle between tyrants and artists. Tyrants both hate and fear the artists”. Bobi Wine will only spread faster.
It is not often that I meet cultural activists who enter the political system, as Bobi Wine has done with his place in parliament. Usually they stand outside, and see politics as the same affair as Bobi Wine now has experienced from inside. Cultural activists are massively involved in civil society, from where they work for democratization of both society and the political system. The Arab Spring in 2011 is the great example of the group's ability to mobilize. In Uganda, a similar mobilization is taking place right now. The question here is whether the president stops the music or the music stops him.
By Cato Litangen, Director of Mimeta