Controversy erupts over Bobi Wine’s support for gay rights in Uganda

Controversy erupts over Bobi Wine's support for gay rights in Uganda
David Vidal Sans, took to his X platform and credited Bobi Wine for not only fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community but also exposing a dictator in Uganda.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | David Vidal Sans, a Digital Communications specialist at the European Union Parliament, has taken down a tweet that praised Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, the leader of the National Unity Platform (NUP), for his advocacy of human rights, including LGBTQ rights in Uganda.

Initially, David Vidal Sans posted on X (formerly Twitter), expressing admiration for Kyagulanyi and referring to him as the “People’s President.” However, he later removed the tweet without providing specific reasons.

Nevertheless, screenshots of the tweet have circulated widely on various social media platforms.

“Honored to meet Uganda’s most prominent leader, Bobi Wine. He is not only fighting for human and LGBTQ rights but also exposing the dictator in the 2024 Oscar-nominated documentary Bobi Wine: The People’s President,” David Vidal Sans tweeted.

A screengrab of David Vidal Sans tweet crediting Bobi Wine for fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ in Uganda before it was deleted.

However, Bobi Wine has countered, by releasing the original pictures, asserting that the circulated images are falsified and orchestrated by Musevenists with a vested agenda aimed at blackmail.

“Whenever confronted about its grave human rights record and the great harm it has done to our country, the Museveni criminal regime resorts to blackmail! Paid propagandists spend countless hours faking and spreading such images to drive a known agenda! Ignore and treat with contempt!,” said Bobi Wine.

“While the partisan police and CMI casually abduct and torture our people accusing them of computer misuse and offensive communication, known Museveni propagandists have the leeway to fake anything against his opponents because they enjoy state protection!,” he added

He emphasized that the NUP remains undeterred in their pursuit of a better nation, one characterized by the rule of law, respect for human rights, quality education, improved healthcare facilities, well-maintained infrastructure, and a promising future, regardless of any falsehoods or attempts at blackmail.

“Nothing will stop us from pushing for accountability for crimes!,” Bobi Wine continued.

Bobi Wine has previously stated that, as a proponent of human rights, he acknowledges the rights of homosexuals as individuals and advocates for their respect and dignity.

While appearing on South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) on an exclusive interview, Bobi Wine said whereas he does not agree with homosexuals, he respects their rights.

“I believe that one has the responsibility of guarding the rights of all citizens of those who are like you and those that are not like you. I believe that as a leader, a high level of tolerance is required to make sure the nation comes together,” Bobi Wine said.

Quoting a French philosopher, Voltaire, Bobi Wine said he might disapprove of what the homosexuals say or do but noted he will defend their rights to say it.

“I think all people are human beings and have their rights even when you don’t agree with them,” he said.

In an interview on BBC’s flagship program Hard Talk, the National Unity Platform (NUP) party president, Bobi Wine, stated that he supports homosexuals because they have a right to enjoy all freedoms their country offers to all its citizens.

When pressed by the show host Zeinab Badawi about his condemnation of homosexuals in 2014, Bobi Wine stopped short of apologizing for his previous comments and beliefs.

“As I grow up I become more open minded,” he said reminding Badawi that his opponent President Yoweri Museveni was accusing him of being supported by foreigners and homosexuals.

Bobi Wine said, he was a changed man.

“I am tolerant to other people, and believe in human rights for all,” he said.

On several occasions, President Yoweri Museveni has accused Bobi of being an agent of “foreign interests” and promoting homosexuality.

“He gets quite a lot of encouragement from foreigners and homosexuals,” Presdent Museveni said.

“Homosexuals are very happy with Bobi Wine. I think they even send him support,” he added.

“Those are being used by the West to introduce despicable acts of homosexuality and cultural disruption. Also terrorist groups operating in the Great Lakes Region are using indirect methods through politicians. Don’t fall for their schemes,” Museveni accused Bobi Wine of being funded by gay people to disrupt Uganda’s peace.

In the wake of Bobi Wine’s affirmation of his support for LGBTQ rights in Uganda, various leaders, including members of his own National Unity Platform (NUP) party, have voiced sharp criticism.

Dr. Abed Bwanika, the Member of Parliament for Kimaanya Kabonera, Masaka City, who belongs to the NUP, reacted strongly to Bobi Wine’s confirmation, stating, “You cannot hide forever; this tells it all.”

Pastor Martin Ssempa, founder of Makerere Community Church, raised concerns about whether Bobi Wine’s stance on homosexuality reflects the position of the NUP as a whole. He called on Joel Ssenyonyi, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) and a senior NUP leader, to clarify Bobi Wine’s recent engagements with LGBTQ advocates globally.

“Joel Ssenyonyi, can you please tell us if Bobi Wine’s advocacy for LGBTQ policies with the European Union Commission has been approved by the NUP’s National Executive Committee (NEC)? I ask for clarification,” Pastor Ssempa demanded.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court recently rejected a petition to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 in its entirety, dismissing a challenge brought forth by rights activists, including veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda. In response, the group has threatened to escalate their efforts by petitioning the Supreme Court.

MPs angered by Bobi Wine’s past remarks on Anti-Homosexuality Law

In 2023, Bobi Wine didn’t mince words during an interview in the UK after the lifting of his travel ban. He lambasted Ugandan Members of Parliament for endorsing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Bobi Wine, who had faced a travel ban to the UK in 2014 due to his song “burn dem” being deemed homophobic, returned to the UK in November 2023 after nearly a decade. When questioned about the controversial song during an interview, the Ugandan pop star cum-politician Bobi Wine expressed that people evolve and transform over time.

Also Read: Uganda’s Constitutional Court upholds toughest anti-LGBTQ law

During the discussion, the NUP president revealed his views on the Anti-Homosexuality Act, stating that it was introduced to target him and other opposition members. He suggested that some of his party members have ties to President Museveni’s administration, hence the surprising support for the bill from some NUP MPs.

These comments from Bobi Wine didn’t sit well with legislators, evident during a heated Plenary session on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. Speaker Anita Among sternly rebuked Bobi, asserting that the bill had bipartisan support and accusing him of playing politics.

Furthermore, Among emphasized that the decision to pass the bill was made in the interest of the nation’s welfare and shouldn’t be subjected to political maneuvering. She clarified that NUP members, including those led by Hon. Mathias Mpuuga, weren’t influenced by President Museveni and were committed opposition members.

The sentiment was echoed by Jacob Oboth, Minister of State for Defence, who stressed the importance of upholding parliamentary integrity and condemned Bobi Wine’s remarks as undermining the institution.

In response to the parliamentary backlash, Kwizera Eddie, MP for Bukimbiri County, raised concerns over Bobi Wine’s criticism of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, especially considering its endorsement by NUP legislators.

Earlier 2023, Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023, originally tabled by Hon. Asuman Basalirwa, President of JEEMA and MP for Bugiri Municipality.

On May 26, 2023, President Yoweri Museveni signed one of the world’s toughest anti-LGBTQ laws, including the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” drawing Western condemnation, global debate, and Uganda risking sanctions from aid donors.