Bobi Wine getting a raw deal - Tony Rebel defends Ugandan reggae star
Jamaican reggae star Tony Rebel is upset at the treatment being meted out to his friend, Ugandan artiste-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, known by the stage name Bobi Wine.
Wine has been placed under house arrest by the Ugandan government,, and Rebel believes that Wine is being restricted from making public appearances and performances, lest he rally his troops to the polls as the nation's next elections roll around.
"He's under house arrest by the regime. They are on the wrong side of history," Rebel told THE STAR.
According to CNN, Wine has been in a stand-off with the Ugandan authorities since Monday after his shows were cancelled because police said they failed to meet safety standards, prompting widespread protests.
He was removed from his car by police and escorted to his home while heading to a briefing to address the concert cancellation and allegations of police brutality on Monday.
In a statement on his Facebook page later that day, Wine said police had cancelled 124 of his shows across the country.
The 36-year-old reggae star has signalled his interest in unseating one of Africa's longest-serving leaders, Yoweri Museveni, and has continued to speak out against his regime.
Referring to an image of Wine's wife posted on Instagram, Rebel said that the way Wine was handled may have been uncalled for.
Rebel said: "They held him like they wanted to arrest him. He was telling them that he's not fighting."
Wine was one of the two international guests of honour (along with Patoranking) at this year's Rebel Salute. Wine told the audience that he was a freedom fighter and that his musical influence came from Jamaican reggae icons - freedom fighters in their own right.
He said that he was inspired greatly by Jamaica in the '90s, including artistes Shabba Ranks and Buju Banton. He even called Banton "a big brother away from home".
Meanwhile, Rebel said that Wine, who has reached out to the reggae star since his arrest, "hopes for the best".
"When I spoke to him, what I understand is that he is prepared for anything - but he hopes for the best. He knows that anything is possible, but he's a soldier," Rebel said.