Ugandan pop star turned opposition MP Bobi Wine on Wednesday accused police of blocking him from holding a much anticipated concert this weekend.
In a letter seen by AFP, Uganda’s head of police operations said Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was “advised to call off the music show” planned for Saturday as he had failed to make proper arrangements with the venue operator.
The company managing the Mandela National Stadium said in a statement last week that the date chosen by Wine was unavailable.
The singer said, however, that he had already paid a deposit and agreed with the stadium on the date, after being forced to postpone the show once already.
“We agreed with the management of Mandela stadium to have the show this Saturday and on that basis we paid but the police has put pressure on them to backtrack and ensure that they cancel our booking” he said.
The concert was aimed at officially launching the singer’s latest album Kyarenga, which became hugely popular during his arrest in August when he claims he was beaten and tortured by police.
Kyagulanyi and 33 others, including two fellow serving MPs, are facing treason charges in a case that has triggered an international outcry.
They were arrested after stones were thrown at President Yoweri Museveni’s convoy, breaking a car window, as he visited the town of Arua to support the ruling-party candidate during a by-election.
Since entering parliament last year the singer has emerged as a leading critic of Museveni, a 74-year-old former rebel leader in charge since 1986, firing up a youthful population tired of the old guard.
One song on his album, called “Freedom”, contains the lyric “freedom fighters become dictators,” while others hint that Museveni has stayed in power too long.
News the concert would not go ahead sparked anger on social media and among other local musicians.
“This is killing the music industry by the government” another popular musician Mesach Semakula said.
“The government will now dictate which songs we should produce,” he said.