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Gen Tumwine claims blocking Bobi Wine concerts is occupational hazard, told to ‘shut up’

PARLIAMENT | Security minister Elly Tumwine was left reeling in Parliament on Tuesday after his attempt to tell off Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi was met with indignation across the floor.

Gen Tumwine had thought to downplay concerns raised by Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, that Police were maintain too much of a partisan stance in frustrating his music concerts. The security minister said Bobi Wine — as MP Kyagulanyi is popularly known — should stop making noise about being blocked by Police as the state decisions are part of his “occupational hazards” as a musician.

Taking to the floor during a plenary, Kyagulanyi said: “Just like people who are lawyers, pastoralists… I am also a musician where my family survives through that way, I employ hundreds of Ugandans. Since last year, Uganda Police has made it a habit to sabotage my music concerts.”

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The Kyadondo East MP said that since October last year, five of his concerts have been cancelled and in October another concert meant to take place at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, was halted without justification from Police.

“Apart from shows, I am not allowed to even go to church. In Kangulumira, the congregation was tear gased and in Lugazi police surrounded the people and beat them up. It is my prayer that this Parliament can rein in Police and other security agencies to stop abusing the laws of this land,” Kyagulanyi said.

Gen Tumwine, who was responding on behalf of the government, said: “Ssentamu will be my witness, when he came to this Parliament, as a musician, I had a discussion with him in the lobby and I asked him a question him, how will you balance the music and the politics?“

But Gen Tumwine, who passes for a musician in his own right with a few songs to his name, appears to not have read the times right in as far as Bobi Wine is concerned. He also appears to have missed a step in recognising the fact that legislators can practice other professional vocations outside Parliament business.

For these, a section of MPs called Tumwine out for the comment, with Gilbert Olanya (Kilak County) wondering why the ban has to touch only Kyagulanyi yet the law doesn’t require MPs to resign from their professions.

“Almost all MPs have their professions, we have lawyers in this August House who are practicing, I am an active teacher myself. UPDF soldiers like Tumwine here is a minister. How can he insinuate that Bobi Wine cannot balance his profession with working as MP yet all of us are practicing our professions?” Olanya asked.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ruled Tumwine out of order for his response, saying: “The form we signed when we were being nominated doesn’t say that if you are dancer stop dancing, if you are a teacher, stop teaching. Address violation to his rights. Is the State stopping him from doing his work? That is what we want to hear.”

Not to be outdone with his fight, Tumwine bounced back saying, “I hadn’t finished my story, I hadn’t concluded my sentence. I will say these are occupational hazards.”

The security minister’s statement infuriated Kadaga, who asked the Leader of Government Business to come and explain why Bobi Wine isn’t being allowed to hold shows.

Kadaga said: “I think the minister thinks this is a joke. I want to ask the Prime Minister if the State doesn’t allow Kyagulanyi to do his job.”

At the weekend in Jinja, Bobi Wine and his entourage were rounded up in a hotel where they had booked in ahead of a concert. The legislator escaped and hid as Police combed the hotel and besieged the areas around in search of him.

Updating his followers about the development, Bobi Wine said members of his crew were assaulted by Police and forcibly driven out of Jinja town.

Previously, his Kyeranga concert, booked for Namboole, was cancelled under unclear circumstances and he eventually had to hold it from his private property in Busabaala.

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