By Tolbert Joseph Sibuta
Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine is a Ugandan politician, musician, Philanthropist, businessman and the current Member of Parliament representing Kyadondo East constituency (Wakiso district) in the August House. Robert Kyagulanyi won the hearts of the youths when he declared his political ambition. The youth saw him as a young “mantle” that had come to wipe off their tears. In 2020, Robert Kyagulanyi declared his bid to run for the Uganda top seat, tussling it out with the countries longest serving President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
The former self proclaimed “ghetto” president was born on the 12th day of February 1982 at Nkozi hospital, situated in the heart of Wakiso district where his late mother was a staff member. He is 38 years by the time of publishing this biography.
Bobi Wine education background is quite interesting. He is an alumni in 13 different schools. He attended Kitante Hill school where he attained his Uganda certificate of education in 1996; he later went to Kololo Senior Secondary school where he attained his Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education UACE in 1998. He passed overwhelmingly and got admitted to Uganda’s best university, Makerere University where he majored in Music, Dance and Drama (MDD) graduating in 2003. In the year 2016, Robert Kyagulanyi joined the International University of East Africa in Uganda (IUEA), to study a bachelor’s law degree. From the university, he met his longtime friend and lecturer for administrative law Lewis Lubongoya, who is currently the People Power Chief Executive Secretary.
Bobi Wine is a family man. He has four children namely Shadrack Shilling Mbogo Kyagulanyi, Suubi Shine Nakaayi Kyagulanyi, Solomon Kampala and Shalom Namagembe Kyagulanyi. His wife is Barbara Itungo
Storming the entertainment industry
When you talk of Uganda’s Bigwigs in the music industry, it’s quite important to note down the three legends, Bobi wine, Jose chameleone and Bebe Cool. Robert Kyagulanyi began his music career in the early 2000s, and adapted the stage name Bobi Wine. His first singles “Akagoma”, “Funtula”, and “Sunda” (featuring Ziggy D) ushered him to the vibrant East African music scene. It’s also important to note that many of Bobi wine’s songs convey a special message to the youths to take caution on their lives. He is the leader of the music band group Fire Base Crew. In the early 2000s, Bobi Wine started a new group known as Ghetto Republic of Uganja and proclaimed himself as the Ghetto President, President of the Republic of Uganja. He has released more than 70 songs over 15 years. In 2016, his song “Kiwani” was featured on the soundtrack for the Disney movie Queen of Katwe. After developing political feelings, Bobi Wine took another trend and produced songs, mainly sensitising the public about the injustices brought about by the government of His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. His songs of Freedom, ”Bikwase Kyagulanyi”, ”Obululu”, Uganda ”Zukuka” among others sent a signal of change to the youth.
Film career Edit
Bobi Wine is also a film actor, mainly starring in local Ugandan movies. In 2010, he was cast in Cleopatra Koheirwe’s drama film Yogera. In 2015, he was cast in a lead role in the Twaweza-supported film Situka with Hellen Lukoma. He has also worked on a number of other films, including Divizionzber
Accolades and awards
Rewards are given to the hardworking; therefore Bobi wines hard work has earned him several awards and nominations
In 2005, he won the Pearl of Africa music (PAM) awards song of the year, ”Mama Mbiire song with Juliana Kanyomwozi.
In 2006, he won the Pearl of Africa music (PAM) awards best Afro beat single, with his ”Bada” song, as well as artist of the year.
In 2006, he was nominated for Tanzania music awards, best EAST African Album with ”Mama Mbiire” song featuring Juliana Kanyomwozi
In 2007, he won the Pearl of Africa music (PAM) awards best Afro beat single, with his ”kiwaani” song, as well as best Afro beat artist/ group. He was also nominated for the Kisima music awards with his ”Bada” song.
In 2008, Bobi wine won the Pearl of Africa music (PAM) awards best Afro beat artist/ group.
In 2009, he was nominated for MTV Africa music awards, best video, ”little things you do” by Wahu Featuring Bobi wine.
In 2013, he was nominated in HiPipo awards, best raga/ dancehall song, by far, and he won best Afro beat song Jennifer.
In 2018, he was nominated for Afro beat song of the year, ” Kyarenga”, won male artist of the year, nominated artist of the year, and won song of the year, ”kyarenga”.
After taking a stand on politics, Robert Kyagulanyi also won other honours such as 2018 Africa news personality of the year, 2019 Foreign policy global thinkers, and the 2019 Rainbow push international humanitarian award.
Bobi wine joins active politics
Independent, affiliated to People Power movement
Manoeuvring through the corridors of politics.
One of Robert Kyagulanyi’s best friends popularly known as Nubian Li advised the singer turned politician to contest for a Parliamentary seat. In April 2017, Kyagulanyi announced his interest for a Parliamentary seat in an upcoming by-election for the Kyadondo East Constituency. His door-to-door walking campaign attracted attention both in Uganda and abroad. He won the contest by a wide margin, beating two seasoned candidates: Sitenda Sebalu of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and Apollo Kantinti of the Forum for Democratic Party (FDC), the incumbent whose victory had been overturned. After winning the election with a landslide victory, Kyagulanyi gained increasing political fame, championing the victories in most of the by-elections by the candidates he campaigned for, such as Kassiano Wadri, Asuman Basalirwa hence defeating opposition politicians.
The Arua predicament, killing a doctor to save a tailor?
Chaos erupted in the Arua by-election when Kassiano Wadri allegedly attacked President Museveni’s convoy in the northern town of Arua, near Gulu. Museveni’s motorcade was pelted with stones, leading to clashes between security forces and protesters. Later, Kyagulanyi, an outspoken critic of Museveni, revealed through a social media post that security operatives had intentionally shot at his tundra vehicle, killing his driver Yasin Kawuma. Kyagulanyi had endorsed Wadri’s candidate against the official pro-Museveni candidate in Arua.
Kyagulanyi was then sent to the coolers on 15th August 2018 for possible charges of unlawful possession of firearms and inciting violence, after which he was arraigned before court in Gulu district. The Times paper reported that Kyagulanyi had been given a thorough beating before appearing in court. Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, a lawyer who has represented detained MPs, said that Kyagulanyi was in a worrying state of health and needed urgent medical attention. With popular protests growing in Uganda demanding Kyagulanyi’s release, and heated up discussions in the Ugandan Parliament, the Ugandan State prosecution withdrew the charges against the politician. The prosecution indicated it would further pursue possible charges in a civilian court for a possible trial of the MP. Upon release, Kyagulanyi was rearrested and charged with treason in a civilian court. In September 2018, Kyagulanyi was released on bail and travelled to the United States for medical treatment for injuries he allegedly received in custody The Ugandan government banned his supporters from gathering on the day of his release, and on the day of his return from the United States. He eventually addressed his supporters in a gathering outside his home upon his return to Uganda on 20 September 2018. In August 2019, Kyagulanyi was charged with “intention to annoy or ridicule” President Museveni for his role in the Arua incident the previous year. The charges came a day after the death of Ziggy Wine, a fellow Ugandan musician and staunch critic of Museveni, who was kidnapped and tortured by unknown assailants. On 22nd April 2019, Kyagulanyi was detained while attempting to make his way to a planned concert at his private club in southern Kampala, which was cancelled by police. He was accused of leading a protest in the city the previous year without prior police authorisation; the protest was held against the “social media tax” which took effect in July 2018. On 29th April 2019, on his way to the offices of the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) to honour a summon and provide a statement on the cancelled concert, Kyagulanyi was again arrested and taken to Buganda Road Court, where he was charged with disobedience of statutory duty and remanded to Luzira Maximum Security Prison until his bail hearing on 2nd May. In a statement the following day, Amnesty International demanded his immediate release and urged the Ugandan government to “stop misusing the law in a shameless attempt to silence him for criticizing the government. On the day of the hearing, which was conducted via video conferencing (the first time in the history of Uganda’s justice system), Kyagulanyi was granted bail and released from prison, with the court also barring him from holding unlawful demonstrations.
The rise of People Power, Our Power movement
The people power group/ movement expeditiously rose, giving birth to a new era of a political shift?
The People power movement
Also known as the people power movement, is a resistance pressure group led by the Kyadondo East legislator. The movement seeks to unite Ugandans on issues such as putting an end to human rights abuse, corruption, and redefining the rule of law, with a focus on young Ugandans (the youth). This was perceived by the NRM as an era of “Predicament”, precipitated through civil unrest with Yoweri Museveni’s extended presidency as a leader with the third longest tenure in Africa. The People power movement commonly uses the red color as an identification tool.
2021 Presidential bid
Judging from his earlier political assertions and freedom songs, the whispers were just too loud to be heard and the singer will be on the ballot in 2021 to run for the presidency.
When it comes to issues pertaining to the common man, Robert Kyagulanyi ”roars” thus laying a firm foundation for controversy. For over 20 years, he has had a long-standing feud with fellow Ugandan musician Bebe Cool, both politically and musically. It should be noted that Bebe Cool rallies great support for the ruling NRM government who has sung in support of President Museveni, while Kyagulanyi has supported opposition interests.
In July 2014, it was announced that Bobi Wine was to perform in the United Kingdom at The Drum Arts Centre in Birmingham and the Troxy in London. This led to calls for a ban because of his lyrics expressing opinions against same sex relationships. Both venues subsequently cancelled his appearances. In a May 2016 Twitter exchange with ULC Monastery LGBTI, an American Christian group that promotes tolerance toward the LGBT community, Bobi Wine suggested that he had moved away from his previous homophobic comments, but did not specifically state that his views on same sex relationship had changed.
In 2015, Robert Kyagulanyi defended the Buganda kingdom’s fundraising efforts (Ettoffali) as it was harshly criticized by the Moslem cleric Sheikh Muzaata, thus a cold war emanated between the dual. Kyagulanyi has at times been known as Omubanda wa Kabaka (the king’s rogue/bodyguard) for his devotion to the Kabaka (King) of Buganda.
In mid 2016, when Uganda’s only radiotherapy machine at Mulago national referral hospital broke down, Bobi Wine played an active role in sensitising the masses about government’s negligence when it comes to health care.