The Tenth Parliament has lawyers, doctors and businessmen juggling their duties as lawmakers with their professions and trade without much ado.
In his plea to Parliament yesterday over what he described as “blatant abuse of his rights,” Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine (Kyadondo East), said the Police had made it impossible for him to ply his trade as a professional musician unlike other lawmakers whose careers outside Parliament are not being hampered.
The Minister of Security, Gen. Elly Tumwine described the Police’s decision to block Bobi Wine from staging music shows in different parts of the country as “occupational hazards”.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, summoned the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, who is also the leader of government business in Parliament, to explain.
“I think the Minister of Security is taking this matter as a joke. I want the Prime Minister to tell us whether the state has decided not to allow Kyagulanyi to conduct his music shows,” Kadaga said.
In his statement to the House, Kyagulanyi highlighted a litany of cancelled or blocked music shows by the Uganda Police Force despite, according to him, ticking all the boxes required to stage such shows.
By inference, the musician turned politician said the Police was stopping him from practicing his trade and in away denying him a right to earn a living.
“I am a professional musician, just like many MPs are lawyers, doctors and teachers. I have been a professional musician for two decades and I have a right to practise my profession,” Kyagulanyi said.
Asked to respond to Kyagulanyi’s concerns, Tumwine riled a number of lawmakers when he asked whether the Kyadondo East MP had the capacity to dis-aggregate his career as a musician from his current status as a politician.
Tuwmine said: “Kyagulanyi will bear me witness on this because during his swearing-in, I asked him how he will be able to balance politics and music.” However, amid a chorus of disapproval, especially from opposition benches, Kadaga slapped down Tumwine’s submission.
“The form we fill in for our nomination does not say that when you are a lawyer, you stop practising, or if you are a musician, you stop dancing or singing. Address the substance of the matter,” Kadaga said.
Since his election as a lawmaker a year ago, Kyagulanyi has seen a number of his music shows cancelled. Last week, another concert where he was involved in Jinja, was cancelled, resulting in a faceoff with the Police.