The justification in Bebe Cool, the masses and bottles

Right or wrong: Bebe Cool has the right to support whoever, say whatever and dine with whomever, and the masses also have the right to protest. How they do it can be irrelevant depending on various factors.


It’s exactly the kind of controversy Moses Ssali, aka Bebe Cool, prides in and thrives on. But this one was been better. Over the years, the local artiste has mastered the art of controversy and has largely stayed relevant musically through daring everything and anything around him but his wife Zuena Kirema.

On any boring day, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to suggest that Bebe Cool stage-managed the incident at Lugogo Cricket Oval Friday night. But it’s a cool weekend (no pun intended), so there is no need to toy such cynical lines by suspecting Bidandi Ssali’s son of staging such acts.

Sendo Cleaners

The incident: Moments after Bebe Cool had stepped on stage to perform during the Swangz All Star  Tour with Jamaican artiste Tirrus Riley as the main item on the menu, showgoers did what appeared to be almost choreographed. Bottles of all kinds and shapes started flying at Bebe Cool. It didn’t matter the distance, the “riff-raff, hooligans, radicals and extremists” can be that bad.

Some of the bottles, with their content that ranged from beers to sodas and water to concentrated elephant-like urine, either ended on other revellers or at Bebe Cool. He scampered to safety backstage and had to be escorted by security out of the venue.

There was nothing like ‘Love You Everyday’ moment here. And any idea that it was choreographed would be like the old man’s infamous post script — ‘Zaake escaped from Police custody, the police are looking for him.’

Most of such actions are spontaneous. Like there was this time in June seven years ago at Namboole Stadium when Cranes forward David Obua’s petulant reaction to being substituted saw him throw away his jersey and trudge into the dressing room with the match ongoing. Like a miracle, the clear sky over Kampala that day suddenly started raining–on Obua alone–as fans cheering the team’s assured victory over Guinea Bissau showered him with urine, water and whatever else bottles could hold.

That day, no one blamed the fans for their spontaneous protest. No one cited any reasons for their reaction, like saying they did it because “Obua supports Museveni or because his late father was synonymous with Nicodemus Pork Joint in Mr Ras’ cartoons.” No one termed it harassment and said Obua had a right to react the way he did.

Which brings us to the question: Why is Bobi Wine and Yoweri Museveni trending on a matter between Bebe Cool, the masses and bottles at Lugogo Cricket Oval? Neither of these guys was at the Oval to burn 50k jumping at a Jamaican’s auto-tune over the DJ’s works.

This was a spontaneous reaction by masses releasing pent up energy. Whether political or social is irrelevant and if one went around asking why each of those who did it did it, there would be no common explanation. There is no doubt that some did it because they saw others do it.

Yet, depending on time and ideological standing, what they did was wrong, just like what Cranes fans did to Obua at Namboole was wrong and what Libyans did to Muammar Gaddafi was wrong, or even what Egyptians did to Hosni Mubarak… not to forget what Bobi Wine’s supporters did to Museveni in Arua was also wrong.

Confused now?

The point is simple: the right or wrong in actions of the masses depends on majority consensus. When there is majority consensus, there is justification; it becomes right. Like the torture of Bobi Wine has led to majority consensus that no single ‘Red Army’ stoned Museveni’s motorcade, that the soldiers just felt bored after delivering their bicycle to wherever and decided to turn Opposition politicians and their supporters into gym equipment. That is the majority consensus, no?

Those who are citing support for Museveni in Bebe Cool’s incident at the Oval say the singer has a right to choose which side of the fence to sit in, which dining table to eat from. They say in a democratic landscape, that is a right he must enjoy and exercise anywhere, anytime and freely.

But they are not admitting that the same can be said of the masses who sent Bebe Cool scampering away. Do the masses have a right to protest his presence? I mean, these guys paid to be there and Bebe Cool is ‘eating their money’ and they don’t want him, but they have no right to protest his presence?

Grinding it down to the ‘how’ of their protest, it is not written in stone how a protest should be carried out. Refer to Muammar Gaddafi again. Add Laurent Gbagbo to the list. Whether protesters drag you by your anal follicle or by the ears is irrelevant as long as you won’t overpower them and make them pay. A victim who gets away with the fury of the masses writes the record books.

That explains Museveni’s many missives over the Arua incident. Had the alleged stones sent him six feet under or to Taiwan, I bet the last of my hairy pair in the groin that no one would have disputed that the motorcade was blocked and stones thrown. In fact, the story would have been told with much exaggeration like “Bobi Wine climbed on top of his Tundra, SFC shot at him and he caught the bullets with his teeth like it happens in Nigerian movies, then spat the bullets at them, killing them on the spot.”

Back to the Oval, it would be wrong if the showgoers followed Bebe Cool backstage with the intention to harm him. They did not. They only used one viable option at their disposal to see off the one they did not want on the stage they had paid for and they achieved their goal.

Right about now, Bebe Cool could be at some washing bay where he will meet a handful of those who pelted him with bottles, but none will attack him, not even abuse him. He was simply unwelcome at the Oval Friday night.

The same civil liberties that Bebe Cool seeks to enjoy in our democratic milieu is the same that the rest of the masses also live to partake in. So Bebe Cool is right to do what he wants, to support whom he wants, and to call those who don’t agree with his cockroaches and other names. And the people are also right to reject him from the mildest to the strongest-concentration-of-urine terms, to call him whatever names they can… as long as they are not going to harm him, just like he has never harmed anyone —  at least not on record available to this page.

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