Ugandan opposition figure Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, said one of his bodyguards was on Sunday run over and killed by a military police truck. The victim, Francis Senteza, was allegedly killed while helping to transport a journalist injured during a confrontation between the police and followers of Bobi Wine.
“I regret to announce the murder of my security team member Francis Senteza Kalibala aka Frank. He was deliberately ran over by military-police truck,” Bobi Wine wrote on Twitter.
The pop musician turned politician was campaigning on Sunday in parts of central Uganda when violent confrontations between security forces and his followers occurred. In the process, the police fired tear gas into the crowd, injuring two journalists, Aljazeera reported. Bobi Wine said his team was taking one of the injured journalists to seek medical help when his bodyguard was run over and killed.
A spokesperson for the Ugandan military however said the bodyguard fell off a speeding car amid the confrontation. “UPDF (Ugandan People’s Defence Force) would like to clarify that the late Senteza … was not knocked by a Military Police Vehicle as purported, but rather fell off a speeding car … he tried to jump to (sic) but fell off,” Brig. Gen. Flavia Byekwaso, the spokesperson, wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Protests hit Uganda’s capital Kampala and some major towns last month after news broke that Bobi Wine had been arrested. Bobi Wine was picked up by the police at an election rally in Eastern Uganda after being accused of violating coronavirus prevention guidelines. Authorities said the anti-coronavirus measures are to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, however, critics say the move is only aimed at halting campaigns by the opposition ahead of the January 2021 election. After two days in police custody, Bobi Wine was arraigned in court and was later granted bail.
Bobi Wine was a musician but as he would later admit, he could not just get on with music while the country wasted under a president he has no belief in. Bobi Wine is an independent member of the Ugandan legislature. When he won his seat in 2017, it made national news but many would have written off the fervor for him.
Things changed in 2018 when he campaigned for a number of candidates in by-elections and they won. He also began making himself a nuisance to Museveni’s government. Today, his signature red beret that forms part of his fashion has become a favorite of young people.