WASHINGTON DC – VOA’s Straight Talk Africa program on Wednesday featured Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, and Ugandan Ambassador to the United States, Mull Sebujja Katende. Here are some of the excerpts.
Bobi Wine: I came on crutches because I was in deep pain, I’ve been treated well by doctors back home and here and I hope to be back on my feet very soon. I was brutally tortured by a section of the Ugandan command called the SFC but I’m here and still alive. It’s not new for the Ugandan government to do things and later deny them, I was tortured along with people like Hon. Francis Zaake, Attiku, some MPs and 33 other people in Arua.
Bobi Wine: I’m here not to speak only for the opposition but for the people of Uganda especially my generation, the generation you clearly don’t understand and not connected with. In Uganda, a murder case can happen and it’ll take Police hours before they show up but if it’s a gathering of young people, police and the military show up in less than 2 minutes. I stand for freedom, if we were born in a country that had no constitution it would be okay, but we read the constitution that says power belongs to the people. Our aspirations are far bigger than Muhoozi than the lucky few, the girls I grew up with die while giving birth.
Bobi Wine: Norbert Mao said that if you’re paid to be stupid, your intelligence ceases to matter. I’m very disappointed to see a person I hold in high regard say such things and I believe when he leaves he’ll regret these words. Uganda isn’t a kingdom, it’s a republic but our president has been changing faces all this time, the president came to power when I was just 4 years old.
Amb Katende: On the issue of delving into the past, we ’re not coming from anything, Uganda didn’t start when Bobi wine became an MP, Uganda is old and we have institutions that have been built over time. We have rule of law, we have courts, the same courts that granted Bobi Wine bail to be here in the USA. When matters don’t favour those who are opposed to the government then they’re illegal and wrong, when they favour them, then they’re okay. President Museveni actually has support, what you see is political leaders formatting disturbances in town. If it was about cheating, then team Bobi Wine wouldn’t have won in Arua and Bugiri.
Amb Katende: Uganda is governed by a constitution which is the supreme law of the land, it has provisions governing all facets, the change of term limits was subjected to the people of Uganda. What is true is that Parliament represented that provision on behalf of the people, we practice democracy because part of the people in parliament said no to it. We have a parliament that has all shades of political interests, we have FDC, UPC, NRM, DP, JEEMA and the Kyagulanyi’s. We have a parliament that should be respected and if not, when Hon. Kyagulanyi leaves here, he should resign.
Bobi Wine: I wonder what kind of functioning institutions Amb Katende is talking about, power resides within the presidency.
Bobi Wine: I’m here to speak for millions and millions of Ugandans especially the young people, I’m here to represent their reality. The criminality isn’t perpetuated by ordinary Ugandans, it’s being done by the security operatives.
Amb Katende: As an Amb, I took the responsibility to look Hon. Bobi Wine up because I saw him coming on crutches. I now see him with a walking stick which means things are getting better. There’s been a lot of information circulating on social media that there’s a crisis in Uganda but I want to assure people that there’s no crisis, we only have acts of criminality. Uganda remains committed to democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. The issues Hon Kyagulanyi has alluded are before court and it will pronounce itself on it. Uganda doesn’t condone torture and whatever issues the hon. has will be pronounced in court, Uganda has functioning institutions.
Bobi Wine: “The criminality is not being carried out by Ugandan citizens. It is actually being carried out by the armed forces. … If that’s not criminality, I wonder what it is. I was beaten, kept in handcuffs, a lot of despicable things were done to me. But I’m here, and I’m still alive. In Uganda, social media has been responsible for creating jobs for technological advances for communication,” he said.
Bobi Wine: “Indeed, it has never been there when we are so informed, where so many, not all of us, are very educated. But I know that we have the opportunity like social media and all the likes, we are so connected. So, there is no reason that we don’t constantly learn from each other.”