Kenyans on social media reacted angrily to a video in which National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine is seen supporting a politician accused of attempted murder.
In the video posted on social media, Mr Kyagulanyi is seen rallying Kenyans from the Embakasi constituency to re-elect his friend Babu Owino as a Member of Parliament.
“I am sending greetings to the people of Kenya and more particularly of Embakasi East where my brother Babu Owino comes from. I want to remind you that it's very important to assert your constitutional right. Please register, and make sure you are able to vote and of course, when you go out to vote, vote my brother Babu Owino. Let’s do this, let’s assert ourselves,” Bobi Wine said in the video.
Babu Owino, whose real name is Paul Ongili was charged in a Kenyan court in January 2020, after he shot at a popular DJ Felix Odhiambo commonly known as DJ Evolve. The two had a brawl in a bar that resulted in Owino pulling out a pistol and fired at DJ Evolve. The case is yet to be disposed of as Kenya heads into the 2022 general election.
It's against this background that Kenyans felt betrayed by Bobi Wine supporting a person accused of attempted murder. In comments posted on Twitter and Facebook, Kenyans who, in the past had expressed support for Bobi Wine said it was a good thing that he actually lost the 2021 presidential election to Mr Yoweri Museveni.
“Museveni was... right, Bobi wine is a scam,” commented a one Nick Cesc, a comedian. “No wonder Museveni assaults you...I thought Bobi was wise only to realise kichwa ni ya kubebea kofia pekee,” said a one Sir Phinie.
“A mad man may sometimes speak a true word, but watch him, he will add something that will tell you that his mind is still spoilt. If that is his thinking then Museveni has every reason to silence him,” commented Lameck Bosire.
“How dare one endorse such a fella like Babu? Museveni should work on this guy in the chiboko style he worked on Kizza Kifefe Besigye,” commented Cyrus Osman on Twitter. Another Twitter user, Justus Kemboi asked whether Bobi Wine knew that his friend shot an innocent person who is now fighting for his life.
“He is complaining about Museveni in Uganda but here he wants Kenyans to vote this sharpshooter in 2022,” Kemboi wrote. Another user David Kinoti thanked President Museveni for holding power and not endangering his people by allowing Bobi Wine to win.
Some Ugandan social media users tried pushing back claiming that Bobi Wine was just joking.
In an interview with NTV Uganda, Bobi Wine on Tuesday morning said he made the comments after meeting Babu Owino whom he described as a reformed man, in Kenya where he had traveled over the weekend.
The former presidential candidate said he takes responsibility for the comments he made to endorse MP Babu Owino who has been his friend since 2018 when he (Babu Owino) came out to support his cause to ‘champion human rights.’
According to him, Babu Owino reconciled with his alleged victim.
“I was in Kenya over the weekend and we met…Yes I encouraged Kenyans to register to vote and I must say I endorsed him for reelection in his constituency where he’s a sitting MP but again I cannot pretend not to listen to the voices of the Kenyans calling me out. I’m aware that Hon Babu Owino was involved in some altercation in a bar brawl which was unfortunate. I spoke to him about it and he informed me that they have since mended fences with his victim and they are living like brothers. He's been able to go past that but like I said, as a leader I'm accountable to people in Uganda and East Africa and I should have been more careful, and for that I take responsibility because I respect the people of Kenya and I think we, as leaders owe it to them to act what we preach. And while I know that the Hon Babu has rightly been a reformed man has a made every effort to be representative of every value that we profess as a generation but I also owe it to the people of Kenya and for that I take responsibility", he said.