Ahead of the elections in Uganda, the German Africa Foundation organised a ZOOM event with opposition presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as Bobi Wine. 

David Schwake, Secretary General of the German Africa Foundation and MP Luise Amtsberg MP, (Bündnis 90/The Greens) hosted the event. Luise Amtsberg met Bobi Wine in the Ugandan capital Kampala in 2018 and supports the social and political commitment of the artist and politician as part of the Bundestag’s “Parliamentarians protect parliamentarians” program.

MP Luise Amtsberg and Bobi Wine in November 2018 in Kampala. © DBT/Büro Amtsberg/Ola Nema

At the beginning Bobi Wine described the current situation and which restrictions and measures of the regime make the election campaign very difficult. The dictator Museveni wants to prevent other candidates from expressing themselves publicly and is brutal against supporters of the opposition. There are arrests and people are being murdered.

When asked what needs to change in Uganda, he replied that the most important goal is human freedom. „In Uganda you can party and drink without restrictions. But as soon as more than 5 people get together to talk about politics, the police immediately step in to stop it.“ That has to change.

The economic situation in Uganda is described as stable. But only the upper class is doing well. The reason for this is corruption. Addressed to the EU, he calls for conditions to be attached to development aid. It would be important for Bobi Wine as the president of Uganda to support the neighboring countries in the democratization process. It is important to him that the sovereignty of neighboring states is preserved.

Edward Mutebi from theworldiswatching.international in Berlin was connected. He noted and regretted that the freedom movement in Uganda and the dramatic election campaign with daily human rights violations were only marginally discussed in the German media. Luise Amtsberg confirms this observation and attributes it to a lack of interest in political developments in Africa. Jörg Hilgers is commenting, that “African development, culture and so on is looked as topic for specialists only.”

Bobi Wine regrets the lack of interest. There are diplomatic relations and exchange programs but people in Uganda are suffering in the dark. The EU should impose restrictions when governments in Africa fail to respect human rights and remind current and future leaders that laws must be respected. “The international community is a lifeline for us”, Bobi Wine said. He regrets that the EU was unable to send election observers to Uganda and reports that international journalists were banned and did not get the permission to report. He calls on the international embassies to monitor the elections closely.

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