By Chris Mukasa
August 19, 2018: Bobi Wine is still in custody. Kidney allegedly Damaged. Bank Accounts allegedly Frozen. Family worried. His health is deteriorating… This is a campaign in support for the release of Hon Bobi Wine, a Member of Ugandan parliament representing the people of Kyaddondo East Constituency in Uganda.
After an assassination attempt, his driver was killed and Mr. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu popularly known as Bobi Wine has been arrested and is now being charged with treason at a military court. But hold that thought for a moment…
African Presidents and their “secret” support clubs…
First, let’s talk about self-censorship! Beginning with the loud silence African Presidents have whenever there is an issue in another country. This is usually the opposite when almost any president ‘wins’ an election.
Yoweri Museveni has been president of Uganda for longer than all his 7 predecessors combined.
Regardless of irregularities, they are one of the first to tweet congratulatory messages (sometimes even before media houses). It is almost as if these African presidents are saying: “I also have an election soon, you better acknowledge my win too when my time comes.”
Those messages, usually posted on Twitter, are so plastic and somewhat scripted… It seems like a sort of pre-planned endorsement scheme. If 5 presidents acknowledge an election, media and other people around the world tend to follow suit and believe it too. This is in spite of the bloodshed, the deaths, the rigging and more…
Even 15 years after the death of Idi Amin there is every reason to believe that Uganda remains in the grip of tyranny.
But that’s a story for another day! Back to Bobi Wine.
How Museveni is helping Bobi Wine achieve Uganda’s Freedom:
Whatever happens to Bobi Wine right now will not change the fact that people are tired. It will not change the extinction course set out for dictatorships in Africa. In actual sense, this upheaval is opening up peoples eyes.
African youth have self-censored their voice over time and developed apathy towards the political ecosystem. When Dictators openly and shamelessly ignore human rights, people get to see. Regardless of their action or inaction, they realize that this could happen to any of them.
Why is civic engagement by African youth decreasing?
The anger of people in Uganda and the rest of Africa, just like Fatuma’s words, is brewing up inside. Ready to explode! Dictators are fastening this process by failing to adapt to the peoples present needs.
According to survey findings by Afrobarometer, civic engagement by African youth is decreasing, especially among young women. Interest in public affairs has declined substantially, from 81% in 2002 to 58% in 2015.
However, with public humiliation and human rights abuse, people’s silence is indirectly being broken by the very people who want to silence them!
Censorship, Self-imposed Silence and Systematic Manipulation:
People have the power and they know it. The main issue right now is how they will break out of the systematic manipulation through social institutions. That includes Education, Religion, Politics, and Mass media which are used to maintain the status quo. Individuals grow up thinking that social action is blocked by government policies, which disconnects the community on the ground from the government leaders.
People lose trust and develop a culture of self-imposed silence. The system then takes advantage of their apathy. It gradually shapes peoples thoughts into a rigid collective consciousness. This discourages flexibility in thought and difference of opinion. A defective education system contributes to the systematic manipulation of people by selectively transferring approved versions of culture and history.
What has been done by other Activists and why it is not enough:
This is a shared struggle… besides Bobi Wine in Uganda, we have seen other people like Farida Nabourema in Togo, Julius Sello Malema in South Africa, Pastor Evan Mawarie of #ThisFlag in Zimbabwe… who stand up face to face with tyranny and say NO! Enough is Enough! These are the people who scare the system.
In Kenya, for example, we’ve had several people and organizations that are inspired to act on specific social issues. They raise their voice with the intention of solving social issues and building up the community. However, there is always opposition from the establishment as seen in the cases below:
The story of HAKI Africa – A human rights activist group:
“Non-government organizations are also under pressure. HAKI Africa is a human rights activist group. In April 2015, the Kenyan government froze the account of the organization on suspicions that it was associated with terrorism. The government gave no explanation before blacklisting the organizations in a public notice.
Haki Africa denied the allegations, and the Kenyan government’s own Human Rights Commission opposed the move. By June, the High Court ruled in its favor and ordered the accounts to be unfrozen.”
The Story of Boniface Mwangi – A Freelance Photojournalist:
“Boniface was a freelance photojournalist. He fell into depression due to the violence he had to endure and the shock of the images he took, after documenting the post-election violence of 2007/08.
This pushed him to become a political activist. He would mobilize youth and organize peaceful protests to speak out against corruption and political accountability. He soon started getting death threats and decided to quit.”
Why do some profiles on the Fatuma’s Voice forum have Bobi Wine as the profile photo?
Fatuma’s Voice Forum has been using The Guy Fawkes Anonymous Mask as the default for blank profiles (profiles with no picture). Members can change or update their profile pictures at any time. The Guy Fawkes Anonymous Mask is a worldwide symbol of uprising.
We used it as a reminder that behind every mask, there is always an idea, and ideas can be brought to life. Bring your ideas to life by unmasking yourself and start questioning the status quo. Today, we’ve changed it to Boni Wine, also known as Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. This is a statement in acknowledgment of the human rights violation he is facing right now!
Although no one can kill an idea, the issue of censorship in African cannot be ignored. If we were as vocal about political and civic issues as much as we are about everything else, our lives would definitely be better than they are right now. The freedom we enjoy presently is as a result of the sacrifice, the voice and the action of people who came before us. They shed blood because they believed in a brighter Africa despite the odds.
Today, if we know how much they envisioned for us then, we wouldn’t settle for what we think they achieved. This is just a drop in the ocean, we still have issues that are affecting the communities in Africa. It all starts with one voice. The voice is turned into action. The action destabilizes status quo and people are no longer complacent.
Deep-rooted barriers to change make it hard for people to meet their most pressing needs as outlined below:
The growing youth population needs access to more employment opportunities, job security and capital for entrepreneurship.
People need access to affordable and relevant education that builds up appropriate skills necessary to sustain their livelihood.
People need community programs that will educate them about their responsibilities and rights for political representation.
The community needs to support small-scale enterprises, like the agricultural sector, on which a majority of the population relies on.
These unmet needs result in a series of related social issues such as an increase in unemployment among university graduates in many African countries. Unemployment has become a top political priority in Africa and can arguably be considered to be at the root of the 2012 Arab Spring uprisings.
Is all this noise (or silence) about African People’s Neglected Needs?
Read the full post here: https://www.fatumasvoice.org/forum/bobi-wine-censorship-uganda/