The National Unity Platform (NUP) Party President, Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, is nursing disappointment after his plans to coerce aggression from security forces failed. Bobi Wine planned on provoking the Ugandan security forces so as to implicate the government with charges of human rights violations at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which he had hoped to achieve through the country tours.
Kyagulanyi started his country tours from Western Uganda with a team of officials from the American Embassy, who were promised evidence of violence from security operatives.
However, according to sources close to the NUP president, his tours didn’t go as planned, as he was not stopped, harassed, or violated in any way by the armed forces.
According to David Opolot, a human rights observer who had travelled with the team to ascertain claims of violence reported by Kyagulanyi’s team, he was shocked by the calmness of the police that provided security and paved the way for the NUP brigade.
“We had planned for police violence and carried protective gear, but nothing happened in Mbarara. We waited to be attacked by security from district to district, but that did not happen,” Opolot stated.
Opolot further stated that he was surprised to learn that Bobi Wine’s team was trying to incite violence by staging their own attacks.
“It shocked me to find the people I had travelled with hitting their own cars to frame the police and corner them into acting, even releasing new people from the three drones we hadn’t seen before to wreak havoc in the streets. Police remained collected and continued maintaining peace,” he stated.
According to Opolot, the lack of chaos angered Bobi Wine, which prompted him to convene a meeting after the rally in Mbarara.
“In the evening, he convened a meeting and wanted to know what was going on. He asked about the footage for the day, and when it was discovered that some journalists had taken pictures of the incident with the car, their cameras were rounded up and all the clips from the incident were deleted,” Opolot said.
With his failed plans in Western Uganda, Bobi Wine and his team devised other means of garnering more popularity than they were getting.
They came up with claims that his life was in danger and that the government wanted to assassinate him.
However, according to the human rights observers, that narrative too did not bear fruit. Left with no choice, he planned ahead for the Eastern Region tours, where they massively ferried supporters from Kampala and the neighbouring villages.
“We met the Woman Member of Parliament for Jinja City, Manjeri Kyebakutika, who was paying each Boda boda rider Ugx 20,000 for the services. Mbale was not any different, with the NUP leadership using buses to ferry people from their constituencies to join the Mbale tour,” he said.
Kyagulanyi, fearing Soroti would be like Western Uganda, didn’t go there, choosing Lango region, where businesses closed for fear of NUP hooligans looting and disrupting their businesses.
Poor media coverage, police support, and low turnouts from constituents threatened Kyagulanyi’s money-making scheme from his funders, who had not seen any violence perpetuated towards him, which led him to take drastic measures. He tapped into his tribalism and called on the Baganda in Luwero to raise up against the non-Baganda, trying to provoke security into reacting.
“Bobi Wine completely lost it after Lango, and by the time we got to Luwero, he was so agitated that he spoke with a lot of anger, revealing his sectarianism while trying to provoke security to intervene,” he said.
Kyagunayi’s plan to bait the security forces back fired and has not been well received by the public, who are calling him out on both mainstream and social media for sectarian politics.