Legislators on both the NRM and Opposition sides on Thursday vehemently opposed the stopping of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi’s (Bobi Wine) concerts, calling it an infringement on his rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
The MPs were responding to a statement by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen. Jeje Odongo, who argued that the Police was stopping Kyagulanyi’s concerts for security reasons and sometimes over his failure to comply with guidelines issued by the Police.
“The Uganda Police came up with guidelines to ensure law and order, to forestall acts of criminality including terrorism, mass murder, possible calamities and sexual assaults during performances and concerts. These guidelines are for all to follow. It is not wise to only look at economic benefits without considering order and security,” Odongo argued.
The minister assured the House that the concerts would be allowed to take place, but advised the organisers to follow the law. On the music concert of December 15, 2018 at which Kyagulanyi’s team was blocked from participating, Odongo said:
“The promoters and organisers had several planning meetings with security to secure the event. Regrettably, that evening, Kyagulanyi who was not on the list of performers acted contrary to the set guidelines, flouting traffic laws. He held a procession along Iganga Road in Jinja town, thereby disrupting traffic flow and causing disorder and disharmony.”
The minister also tabled a letter which he said was from one of the organisers clarifying that Kyagulanyi, had not been invited to perform during the concert.
Kyagulanyi, however, disputed the minister’s statement, arguing that he had been contracted and paid as the main performer at the concert. The state minister for youth affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, said:
“The majority of the youth find their enjoyment in music. Organisers of these events are young people. The subject matter is critical. It touches the lives of many people. But some people are using music to propagate their political interests. I encourage Kyagulanyi to avoid extreme political sentiments.”
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, first reported to the House that she had earlier in the day received a petition from artistes and organisers of music concerts who expressed concern that the Government’s acts of stopping Bobi Wine’s concerts had paralysed their business and made them lose a lot of money.
“Among the issues they raised were the cost of planning, hiring venues, employing people who prepare food and additional musicians who participate to earn money. Stopping one person affects thousands of people,” Kadaga explained.
The Speaker also noted that the conditions given to Kyagulanyi, which among others include having sniffer dogs, emergency responses, anticipated number of people and others were unrealistic and hard to comply with. At the tail end of the debate, Kadaga told the Executive to stop violating the rights of Ugandans