Deserved criticism is the strongest form of patriotism. Mindless loyalty is simple-minded nationalism. I always criticise Bobi, where he deserves it at the risk of being hated by his supporters. He gave an interview yesterday on BBC in London, and he managed to base most of his answers on a series of bizarre falsehoods that bear no resemblance to reality. I have no idea where he is getting his information, but none of it is real. So, let me get right into it.
He stated that he's now a changed man when asked about his anti-gay lyrics that led to his 10-year ban to the UK. Do you know what that means? He now either supports homosexuality now, or he's more tolerant, but how does that play in local politics in Uganda? His statement did not obviously resonate with the people who elected him.
However, while speaking at a Muslim gathering in North London flanked by Dr. Rashid Kasato, he stated that he's the same person he was before the ban, and I quote, 'I won't go through the reasons why I was banned - you know them, but i'm still the same Bobi original'. Such a strange, double-faced person!
MUSEVENI BROUGHT THE BILL
What he said about Museveni was dubious, but no more so than what he said about Dr. Kiiza Besigye when he was trying to sell himself to Ugandans. At one point, he called Besigye 'Museveni's Charlie', meaning 'Museveni's buddy'.
He said the anti-gay bill was brought by Museveni to target the opposition, mainly himself. The bill wasn't brought by an NRM MP - it was tabled by JEEMA's Asuman Basalirwa. So, how does Museveni come in to use it against the opposition? Is Bobi saying that most of the opposition is gay- friendly, yet all opposition MPs voted for the bill? Basalirwa is an MP because of Bobi. The latter is, literally, his boss. Is he saying that Asuman works for Museveni, too?
NUP MPs WORK FOR MUSEVENI
When he asked why MPs of his party, NUP, voted for the ant-gay bill, he stated that some of his MPs work for Museveni. For the record, all the 57 NUP MPs voted for the Bill, which is now a law. Does that mean that all Kyagulanyi's MPs work for Museveni? Where does that leave him as a leader of the party?
No matter what some Nupian bloggers and the media say, it was a stunningly insensitive thing to say. He was dismissive of the intergrity of his MPs, and he was apparently using it as part of a bid for sympathy for the gay community who faced discrimination through the recently passed anti-gay law If he doesn't follow that remark with an apology to NUP MPs, he will become a pariah among the leadership of the party. Assuming his goal is to bring awareness and respect to the LGBT minority, he may be sabotaging himself in the process.
I'm not sure if there even exists any mechanism for expelling Bobi from party leadership or if it is even possible. He is obviously a divisive individual in opposition - he has proven to be dishonest and lacking credibility - his actions and words more than justify anything someone could say about him.
However, the NUP MPs have not learned their lesson yet - I'm sure they will still welcome him in big numbers wherever he goes because he remains their ticket for reelection in 2026. He could eat babies, but they will still support and protect him - it's a survival game. MPs get elected into parliament with his support. Every MP contributes something monthly to the Bobi/party coffers, and everyone is happy.
It's the same with trips abroad. The NUP supporters with a business acumen organise music festivals where Bobi and Nubian Ali come to sing - he gets his cut, and they get their cut. It's all about making money!
Marketing includes advertising, self-promotion as well as “word of mouth”. The organisers market their festivals as 'struggles against Museveni' and the chance to see the 'blessed young man' to get people to come in big numbers. They announce to the cameras about his next show that they are planning to sell.
Bobi also announces a thank-you-message blast full of videos and photos on social media sites he uses (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.), to get people hooked on his next visits - It's all to make sure everybody knows his name. I'm sure we are going to get such festivals in London soon now that Bobi is allowed to travel. Social media platforms won’t cost you anything to build an audience that recognizes you.
Another clever way of marketing himself is by getting his agents to appeal to people to welcome him at the airports in big numbers. It obviously inconveniences travellers rushing to catch their flights because of traffic created, but I don't think Bobi cares about that. The world and air waves are filled with artists who have what I would call limited talent but are huge stars. They got there because of fantastic marketing. I saw videos of a few Ugandans waiting for Bobi at Heathrow airport, and I smilingly thought, 'How come Besigye never used to market himself that way whenever he travelled abroad?'
He also markets himself by taking photos with white people to make it look like donors have endorsed him for something. There's also a video showing him promoting his documentary film, and,of course, some white people were in attendance. It's all one big marketing game!
For the record, there's no UK or American "establishment " that has welcomed Bobi with open arms, as far as I know. The closest the UK government has openly supported an opposition Ugandan leader was when David Cameron was PM here - He even risked taking official photos with Besigye, and his party financially bankrolled FDC though it didn't change anything back in Uganda.
Museveni is like a CIA agent in the East African region. Nobody can risk replacing him with someone like that, but Bobi can surely be used to blackmail him over certain issues. During Obote 1, Kabaka Mutesa 11 thought he had UK support when he ended up in exile in 1966. He was told to either accept Obote as president or live as any other refugee. The donors only protect their interests
What’s saddening about this whole thing is that it has taken some Ugandans an exorbitant amount of time to don common sense mentalities and realize that this man is quite unwholesome. Many of the Nupians have embraced identity politics and show no signs of slowing down - Bobi is a symptom of that.
In the immediate future, you can surely expect to see more of his type of bigotry within the NUP Party and not less. It seems to me that all the sympathy he’s garnered from this — not to mention funds from dinners and music festivals! — will encourage him to make more of these controversial remarks in the future, which could be a very bad idea.