Bobi Wine swears in as Kyaddondo East MP

Tuesday July 11 2017

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga (R) welcomes Kyaddondo

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga (R) welcomes Kyaddondo East MP-elect Robert Kyagulanyi to Parliament during his swearing-in on Tuesday. Photo by Alex Esagala 

By Job Bwire

Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu popularly known as Bobi Wine has been sworn in as Kyaddondo East MP.
Shortly after taking the oath on Tuesday, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga congratulated him upon joining the 10th Parliament.
“Honourable Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu I congratulate you. I welcome you to the 10th Parliament,” Ms Kadaga said.
Various MPs from different political camps like NRM, DP, UPC and independent MPs pushed and shoved to get near Mr Kyagulanyi as he took oath. For obvious reasons, the MPs wanted a photo opportunity with the reggae singer, turned politician.

MP Robert Kyagulanyi and his wife Barbie

MP Robert Kyagulanyi and his wife Barbie Itungo. Photo by Michael Kakumirizi


The excitement persisted as MP Kyagulanyi was led to Speaker Kadaga to sign in a members’ book and to receive instruments of office.
Ms Kadaga handed him the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.
After that, MPs struggled to shake his hand as he was taken to the section in the Chambers where independent MPs sit.

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Wine is a spectacularly popular Ugandan entertainer.
For many, he embodies the struggles, frustrations and hopes of the young, poor and marginalised in a youthful nation whose often elderly rulers can seem dismissive of their plight.
The by-election in the teeming capital Kampala was called due to voting irregularities during last year's general election.
Standing as an independent, Wine defeated established candidates from both Museveni's ruling NRM and the main opposition FDC parties.

Mr Kayagulanyi's supporters celebrate his

Mr Kayagulanyi's supporters celebrate his swearing-in. Photo by Michael Kakumirizi

His election marked a remarkable personal journey for the charismatic reggae star from brash, dreadlock-wearing, slum-dwelling youth to a sharp-suited and savvy political operator.
Wine rose to prominence about a decade ago with catchy, upbeat tunes in African reggae style with lyrics that often touched on issues of poverty and social justice.
Growing up in Kamwokya, one of Kampala's poorest slums, Bobi Wine worked as a backing singer before making it to university where he studied music and drama before launching his solo career.
The party-loving popster grew dreads and dubbed the swampy slum of his youth 'Uganja'.
He could be seen cruising the capital in his ostentatious Cadillac Escalade, a marijuana leaf symbol adorning the personalised number plate.

MP-elect Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu with his

MP-elect Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu with his supporters on his way to parliament. He was flanked by his wife, Barbie Itungo and brother Fred Nyanzi

'He understands our situation'
Bobi Wine quickly became a tabloid sensation, his love life a source of endless, lurid speculation, and his somewhat trumped-up beefs with fellow musicians Jose Chameleon and Bebe Cool a mainstay of the gossip columns.
But Bobi Wine gradually removed himself from such frivolity, styling himself a champion of ordinary Ugandans and a crusader against the social status quo.
When other Ugandan stars took money to sing for Museveni's 2016 election campaign, Wine refused the cash and withstood the pressure.


Instead he released a song 'Dembe' (meaning Freedom in the local Luganda language) calling for non-violence in a country where elections are a time of teargas, gunfire and heavy-handed police.
On Friday morning, after his by-election win, 'Dembe' blasted from the speakers of a bootleg DVD shack in Kamwokya market, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Bobi's new constituency, Kyadondo East.

People thronged the dank, narrow alleyways where corrugated iron sheets shut out most of the strong sunlight while, under-foot, rotting hessian sacks were laid over slime-covered pathways.
"Bobi grew up here, he's been on the ground and understands our situation," said Hamidu Mubiru, a market trader.
"I feel as if I know him somehow and I appreciate the things he has done for us. He's been singing about the dictatorship and their brutality," says the 27-year old, describing Museveni's rule in terms that, as a shrewd public figure, Wine would be unlikely to claim.

But as the singer makes his move from 'Ghetto President' to real-life MP he will have to work hard not to disappoint the impoverished, urban youth who look to him for hope and change.

MP-elect Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as

MP-elect Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine arrives at Parliament for his swearing-in on Tuesday. He was flanked by his wife Barbie Itungo and brother Fred Nyanzi (with Uganda flag). Photo by Michael Kakumirizi

Wine is a spectacularly popular Ugandan entertainer.
For many, he embodies the struggles, frustrations and hopes of the young, poor and marginalised in a youthful nation whose often elderly rulers can seem dismissive of their plight.
The by-election in the teeming capital Kampala was called due to voting irregularities during last year's general election.
Standing as an independent, Wine defeated established candidates from both Museveni's ruling NRM and the main opposition FDC parties.

His election marked a remarkable personal journey for the charismatic reggae star from brash, dreadlock-wearing, slum-dwelling youth to a sharp-suited and savvy political operator.
Wine rose to prominence about a decade ago with catchy, upbeat tunes in African reggae style with lyrics that often touched on issues of poverty and social justice.
Growing up in Kamwokya, one of Kampala's poorest slums, Bobi Wine worked as a backing singer before making it to university where he studied music and drama before launching his solo career.
The party-loving popster grew dreads and dubbed the swampy slum of his youth 'Uganja'.
He could be seen cruising the capital in his ostentatious Cadillac Escalade, a marijuana leaf symbol adorning the personalised number plate.

The crowd that escorted Mr Kyagulanyi to

The crowd that escorted Mr Kyagulanyi to parliament to be sworn in. Photo by Michael Kakumirizi

'He understands our situation'
Bobi Wine quickly became a tabloid sensation, his love life a source of endless, lurid speculation, and his somewhat trumped-up beefs with fellow musicians Jose Chameleon and Bebe Cool a mainstay of the gossip columns.
But Bobi Wine gradually removed himself from such frivolity, styling himself a champion of ordinary Ugandans and a crusader against the social status quo.
When other Ugandan stars took money to sing for Museveni's 2016 election campaign, Wine refused the cash and withstood the pressure.

Instead he released a song 'Dembe' (meaning Freedom in the local Luganda language) calling for non-violence in a country where elections are a time of teargas, gunfire and heavy-handed police.
On Friday morning, after his by-election win, 'Dembe' blasted from the speakers of a bootleg DVD shack in Kamwokya market, about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Bobi's new constituency, Kyadondo East.

People thronged the dank, narrow alleyways where corrugated iron sheets shut out most of the strong sunlight while, under-foot, rotting hessian sacks were laid over slime-covered pathways.


"Bobi grew up here, he's been on the ground and understands our situation," said Hamidu Mubiru, a market trader.
"I feel as if I know him somehow and I appreciate the things he has done for us. He's been singing about the dictatorship and their brutality," says the 27-year old, describing Museveni's rule in terms that, as a shrewd public figure, Wine would be unlikely to claim.

But as the singer makes his move from 'Ghetto President' to real-life MP he will have to work hard not to disappoint the impoverished, urban youth who look to him for hope and change.

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