Police and the army on Thursday raided a radio station which presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine had book in Hoima District in western Uganda as he continues to drum up support in Bunyoro sub region ahead of 2021 general election.
“Yesterday, we booked and paid to appear on Spice FM radio station in Hoima District. As soon as we got to the station this morning and started introducing ourselves, the police and military cordoned off the building and forcefully ejected us out of the radio station. We asked why they were doing this, and their answer was “orders from above” the Kyadondo East MP said in a statement on his social media platforms.
In june this year, the electoral commission said 2021 election candidates would have to campaign online and through the media to reach voters as part of new rules to stem the spread of COVID-19.
“We are going to take the matter up with security officers, RDCs, government at large and make sure that these measures are effected without any hindrance,” Simon Byamukama, chairman of the electoral commission said in June.
However, the 38-year-old popstar says he has so far been blocked from addressing Ugandans on thirteen radio stations across the country since he started campaigning.
The RDCs, or resident district commissioners, are representatives of President Yoweri Museveni stationed in every district. The RDCs, along with the police, have been known to deny members of the opposition access to the media – which has Uganda election observers worried.
“Mr. Byabakama and the Electoral Commission must tell us what the meaning of a digital campaign is, when we are not allowed on radio stations. Above all, Mr. Tibuhaburwa and his friends are right to be scared. Ugandans who wondered why we have been calling him the worst coward in history can now see for themselves what we have been saying. To you people of Hoima and Bunyoro generally, the time is now to regain our freedom. And I thank you for the great reception you are giving us everywhere in the midst of great intimidation,” Bobi Wine added.
However, Bobi Wine is not the only presidential candidate who has been blocked from accessing radio.
Early this month, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate, Patrick Amuriat Oboi was denied access to radio stations in Soroti.
Amuriat, who was canvassing for votes in the Teso sub-region, said that his plans to have talk-shows on several radio stations were frustrated.
He said that radio stations that include Etop, Delta and Kyoga Veritas where he had booked for talk shows declined to host him citing intimidation from government.