In a recent address in Mbale City, the leader of Uganda’s Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party, Mr. Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, called upon the European Union (EU) and the US government to discontinue their financial support to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government. Mr. Kyagulanyi asserted that these funds were being employed to sustain oppression and violence against Ugandans.
He emphatically conveyed, “This is a message to the EU and the Americans; we are not asking you to remove the dictator; we are asking you to stop sponsoring the dictator.” Speaking to NUP supporters at Busamaga Playgrounds, he continued, “This is the time to put an end to the puppets of neo-colonialism. Museveni is an agent of neo-colonialism. Museveni has turned us into slaves in our own motherland.”
The European Union extends both development assistance and humanitarian aid, administered through the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG-ECHO), to the Ugandan government. In 2022, the EU allocated €34 million (Shs135 billion) in humanitarian aid to Uganda. Since 2017, they have allocated over €240 million (Shs956 billion) in funding for humanitarian actions in Uganda.
The Press and Information Officer at the Delegation of the European Union to Uganda, Mr. Emmanuel Gyezaho, responded that the organization follows a specific process for addressing comments made by leaders. He advised, “Send an email because we need to contextualize the comments before we respond.”
Efforts to obtain comments from Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, and Mr. Ofwono Opondo, the Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre and government spokesperson, proved fruitless, as the former did not answer repeated calls, and the latter’s phone remained inactive by press time.
As Bobi Wine arrived in Mbale, numerous residents had congregated along the roadside in eager anticipation. Many sang songs in praise of the musician-turned-politician. Supporters swarmed around his car upon his arrival, eager to catch a glimpse of him. He was subsequently escorted to the NUP offices on Pallisa Road for the official opening of the facility.
Mr. Kyagulanyi clarified that his nationwide tour’s purpose is not to solicit votes but to implore the masses to rise against the ruling NRM government, which has maintained power since 1986. He suggested that security forces refrained from intervening in their nationwide tour due to President Museveni’s fear of international repercussions. He remarked, “Last time when I attempted to come here and address you, I was unable. People must be wondering why we haven’t been stopped today by beating us and using teargas. We recorded them in the previous election, and we went to the International Criminal Court; anytime the arrest warrant is going out.”
Mr. Muwanga Kivumbi, the Butambala MP, urged the public not to be influenced by Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the first son and presidential advisor on special operations. He declared, “Uganda is not a monarchy. What good can we expect from him after what his dad has done to us? We should vote for change.” Mr. Zaake Francis, the Mityana Municipality MP, added, “We need a peaceful transition, and we are going to take over this government without bloodshed.”