Uganda Police and the management of Mandela National Stadium in Namboole this past week blocked a music concert organised by Kyadondo East legislator Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
The concert, to launch his latest song Kyarenga, was scheduled for October 20, but management of the stadium demanded that he get police clearance first.
When he contacted the police to provide security, Director of Operations Asuman Magenyi asked the MP to first prove that he had booked the stadium. When he returned to Namboole, the management told him the stadium was booked until the end of the year.
But on Wednesday, October 17, Bobi Wine’s organising team, Emma Promoters, reached a compromise with the stadium management under strict terms which included providing police clearance, not accessing the stadium turf, and paying Ush32 million ($8,411).
The concert is now booked for November 9, but the police are yet to clear it. One of the musician’s handlers said they had forwarded a written request to police for clearance and were waiting for a response.
Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Emilian Kayima said they had not received any letter from Bobi Wine seeking clearance, and would not act on rumours from social media.
“However if they write to us and they are cleared, we shall work together with the organisers to plan on how the event will be conducted,” he told The EastAfrican.
Bobi Wine claims the police and the management of the stadium frustrated his efforts to hold the concert.
A letter purportedly from the stadium management made the rounds on social media, telling that the planned concert would no longer take place because they were booked for a wedding on October 20.
Bobi Wine later explained that all parties had initially agreed to have the concert on October 13, and a deposit was made for the booking. However, it later turned out that on that day the national team had a football match in the same venue.
“We have done everything required of us by law, but it is apparent that the people in authority are doing everything possible to frustrate the concert,” Bobi Wine said.
He added: “As things stand, the concert has been left in the balance. A lot of money and time has been spent on advertising and preparations. I am a Ugandan artiste with a legitimate right to stage a concert.”
It is not the first time a concert by Bobi Wine has been blocked by police.
Earlier this year, at the height of the Constitution Amendment Bill debate in parliament to raise the presidential age cap, the then Kampala metropolitan police commander Frank Mwesigwa cancelled all Bobi Wine’s concerts, claiming that he was turning them into political rallies and inciting the public.
Police Director of Operations Asuman Mugenyi wrote to the concert organisers saying that they didn’t have clearance from the venue owners and therefore the concert could not go on.
He said that the management of the venue had sent them a list of bookings until January 2019 but the Bobi Wine concert was not among them.
“You are therefore advised to call off the music show since you have not made any arrangement with the management of Mandela national stadium to host the music show on the 20th day of October 2018,” Mugenyi wrote on behalf of the IGP.
According to the Ugandan constitution under the Public Order Management Act, any organiser of a public gathering is supposed to write a letter to the IGP requesting for permission and security, indication of consent of the owner.
However, critics fault this law as a means of curbing demonstrations and political gatherings. The opposition has been the main target of police under this law having gatherings dispersed with tear gas as police brands them illegal.
They have blamed police of intimidating venue owners who in turn change stance and reject hosting the government.
Source – The East African