Africa is rich and blessed with numerous and outstanding resources but seem ‘cursed’ with the leaders at the helm of affairs. Without a doubt, some African leaders stand out, however, the majority have impoverished their country and never fail to enrich themselves with state resources. Africans have had to suffer excruciating poverty, lack of infrastructure, corrupt leadership and other unfavourable vices. Suffice to say that irrespective of the incompetence of her leaders, Africans have always remained strong and resolute even in the face of daunting challenges. With her almost non-existing infrastructures, Africans never give up because they are determined to overcome any challenges.
Ssentamu Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine can be said to be one of those Africans with grass to grace biography. Born on the 12th February 1982, in the Gomba District which was then known as Mpigi District to Mr and Mrs J. W. Ssentamu, Robert Ssentamu grew up in the Kamwookya slum, in the northeastern part of Kampala, Uganda. Like the story of many African children, Robert’s parents could not afford an education for their son. He had to attend numerous schools because he was constantly being chased out of school as a result of non-payment of school fees. In 1986, he began his nursery and primary school at St. Mary Goretti Nursery School in Kamwokya then to City Primary School (Now Arya Primary School) the Kanoni UMEA, Kasaka Primary School, Kanoni Catholic School and St Aloysius Bukalagi School.
In 1993, Robert joined St. Maria Goretti Katende for his secondary school education and then moved to Brain Trust Academy Rubaga and finally Kitante Hill School where he sat for his exams and attained his O Level certificate. In 1997, he then attended Alliance Advance Secondary School in Kawokya for his S.5 before joining Lubiri Secondary School and then Kololo Senior Secondary School where he finished his S.6 in 1998 December. In 1999, he gained admission into Makerere University for his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences but had to drop out as a result of his inability to pay his tuition fees. Not giving up, he applied for Diploma in Music Dance and Drama and was admitted to Makerere on a government scholarship and graduated in 2003.
In the early 2000s, Robert officially kickstarted his music career. Known by his stage name Bobi Wine, his music was often filled with conscious messages and has been characterized into varying genres like reggae, dance hall, and afrobeat. His premiere singles which include; “Akagoma”, “Funtula”, and “Sunda” brought him success in the East African music scene and he has since gone ahead to release over 50 songs in a career that has spanned over 15 years. Known to pass messages of activism advocating of freedom, unity and respect of human rights, good governance and democracy through his music, Bobi wine gained his recognition among the youth. In his music songs like Tugambire Ku Jeniffer, Freedom, Ebibuzo, Time Bomb, Ndi Muna-Uganda to list a few, the words of these songs were all carrying political messages. In 2017, he joined politics and came in as an independent candidate. With the recognition he got from the youth through his music, he contested against an incumbent MP and won with 78% of the total vote cast.
Narendra Modi opines that ‘people’s participation is the essence of good governance’. To Abraham Lincoln, ‘No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.’ The Incumbent President of Uganda who had reigned for 33 years had lost his popularity and Uganda’s demanded change. With his government accused of corruption and maladministration and disregard for human right, Uganda’s intensified their clamour for change. Receiving the support of Uganda youths, in 2019, Bobi wine in an interview with Voice of America, announced that he was challenging the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni in the forthcoming presidential election. He then joined the political party National Unity platform becoming the parties flag bearer for the 2021 presidential election. Since joining politics in 2017 and contesting to become the next president of Uganda, Bobi Wine has been arrested and locked up on multiple occasions.
In 2021, in an election alleged to have been marred with violence and corruption, Bobi wine lost to the incumbent Museveni. Days after the election, he was placed on house arrest by the military which was against his fundamental human right. According to Desmond Tutu, ‘do your little good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.’ It is safe to say that the world is amazed at the courage shown by young Bobi Wine. In the face of various attacks and arrest, he stood firm and unwavering in his strides to challenge the incumbent President and get a chance to transform the fortunes of Ugandans. To Pratibha Patil, ‘corruption is the enemy of development and good governance. It must be gotten rid of. Both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective’. Africans are beginning to stand up and fight for their continent with a strong desire to maximize her potentials.