Freedom Prize Africa 2019
Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu “Bobi Wine” Honoured With Freedom Prize
Ugandan pop star and opposition leader, popularly known as “Bobi Wine” was honoured with the Africa Freedom Prize by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Johannesburg, South Africa last night.
The award is in recognition of Bobi Wine’s advocacy for democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Uganda under his People Power movement. President Yoweri Museveni’s government has on several occasions attempted to silence Bobi Wine and the People Power movement.
Bobi Wine was imprisoned and beaten for “annoying the President”. Their members are often attacked in public, with attempts on their lives in the name of silencing the movement. These attempts however have done little to stop the movement. With a drive to make a change from freedom, they keep moving forward.
“Bobi Wine is an African hero. At great personal risk he inspires disaffected citizens, especially young ones, to be part of a solution for Africa, and not, like most rulers, be only part of the problem. We need a free, dynamic, innovative Africa, and to get there we need people like Bobi Wine. Africa needs to be free from red tape and free from corruption to be free to advance.” FNF Africa Regional Director, Mr Jules Maaten.
Liberal International’s Vice President and Chairperson of the LI Human Rights Committee, Ms Astrid Thors, “When you receive awards and you say you receive them for the people of Uganda, that says a lot about you as a person. There is a fear of you and a fear of your popular strength by the ruling regime in Uganda. We have noticed that you have the support of the entire Uganda diaspora. We wonder how many have fled Uganda fearing prosecution, and we see your efforts fighting for human rights for the persecuted people of Uganda. When you protect the rights of people, you protect the rights of the global liberal order.”
In a musical performance mixed with a speech titled, “We are Fighting for Freedom” Bobi Wine shares, “This award is not for me, this award is for the people of Uganda who fight day and night to break free from the shackles of oppression. Since independence, Uganda has not seen a peaceful transition from one leadership to another, we are living through dictatorship in Museveni’s government, the people of Uganda are saying ENOUGH.”
Bobi Wine is the fourth recipient of the Africa Freedom Prize with previous recipients being Gareth Cliff (South Africa), Hakainde Hichilema (Zambia) and Mmusi Maimane (South Africa).
The Freedom Prize comes in the form of a honey badger. Like a honey badger, agents of freedom have to be tenacious and brave in the face of unimaginable challenges that they come across, in the name of freedom.