Teargas as boda boda cyclists escort Bobi Wine to Luzira
Police struggled to keep hundreds of boda boda cyclists off a convoy that escorted a Uganda Prisons bus that took Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine where the Buganda Road Grade one Magistrate Esther Nahilya sent him on remand.
Bobi Wine was produced before the court late on Monday to answer charges of disobedience of statutory duty contrary to section 116 of the Penal Code Act when he participated in protests against the social media tax.
He is jointly charged with David Lule, Julius Katongole, Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu and Edward Sebufu. The charges date back to July, 2018 when government introduced taxes on social media and mobile money.
Prosecution alleges that in July, 2018, Kyagulanyi, his co-accused and others at large while at City Square in Kampala, contravened Sections 5 and 10 of the Public Order Management Act when they held a public meeting in disregard of the laid down procedures in the Public Order Management Act when they refused to coordinate and cooperate with Police to ensure that all participants are unarmed and peaceful.
Bobi Wine pleaded not guilty to the charges and applied for bail through his lawyer, Asuman Basalirwa but the application was not granted because some of his sureties like Francis Zaake, the Mityana Municipality MP were picked up by police before could reach at court.
Bobi Wine in court told the trial magistrate that it was her and the courts on trial other than him.
“I am confident because indeed it is not me on trial; it is the court itself that is on trial, because I am here not because I have committed any crime as my lawyers have told you, but because I disagree with the political leadership of this country, particularly, President Museveni,” Bobi Wine said.
“My spirit is confident because I am here, not because I have stolen public funds or because I have killed somebody; I am glad that I’m here because I’m fighting for them, you (magistrate) and everybody in this country. I’m here for protesting against unfair taxation and against injustice. So if I’m to go through this oppression and pain for the betterment of my country so be it. At least I know that history will absolve me. I thank you,” he added.
Nahilya remanded the suspects to prison until May 2 amidst heightened security. Hundreds of Bobi Wine’s supporters surrounded the court singing “Olutalo nga luwedde tuliyambala engule” literally meaning they will wear the victors’ crowns once the war is over. Others tried out his latest song “Afande” loaded with messages against the brutality of the armed forces.
From court, several boda boda cyclists followed the prisons bus, forcing the police to deploy water cannon trucks, armoured personnel carriers in addition to truckloads of riot police personnel.
Several roads were closed to clear the way for the police convoy that escorted the prisons bus to Luzira, motorcyclists followed in tow.
By the time the convoy reached Luzira, the number of cyclists had swelled forcing the police to use teargas to disperse the crowd that responded by pelting the police with stones.