News Brief

Bobi Wine is Officially Running for the Ugandan Presidency in 2021

The artist will challenge President Yoweri Museveni on behalf of the people and champion the interests of the poor.

UPDATE 07/25: Ugandan artist-turned-politician Bobi Wine, real name Robert Kyagulanyi, officially announced that he will be running for the Ugandan presidency at a recent event in Kampala. Wine, who has been a member of parliament for two years, is referring to himself as the "ghetto president" and says that he wants to be the voice for the poor especially, according to the BBC.


Announcing his candidacy, Wine said that, "On behalf of the people of Uganda I am challenging you [Mr Museveni] to a free and fair election in 2021." He added that, "I know the danger I am going to face to challenge Museveni but I have been encouraged by Ugandans that I am the leader they want."

While Wine is particularly popular among the youth, criticisms of his leadership have centered on how he has yet to deliver a concrete plan of action in terms of tackling issues such as unemployment, poor healthcare and education. And although Museveni has been quick to dismiss Wine as a mere "club singer", it goes without saying that this is the first time that the head-of-state's three-decade rule has been seriously challenged.

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After Ugandan artist Bobi Wine was recently arrested on charges of holding an "illegal" anti-government protest last year, he has now announced that he will be running for the country's presidency in 2021. The artist-turned-politician is the leader of the opposition movement called People Power and previously talked about how he was "strongly considering" running for president back in February.

According to Al Jazeera, Wine has spoken about the concern he has for his personal safety saying, "I live every day as it comes, not being sure of the next day. I am not blind to the fact that the regime wants me dead and wants me dead as soon as possible." He also added that, "There has never been a threat to this regime like the threat we pose to it today as a generation."

Wine, who was elected into parliament in 2017, has quickly built up a good rapport with the youth and his popularity has for the first time posed a real threat to Museveni's three-decade rule.

However, Wine's political endeavors have been met with great resistance by the current Ugandan government.

The artist has spoken on numerous occasions about how the Ugandan government has made multiple attempts on his life. Wine referred to an incident which occurred last year and left his driver dead, saying, "[Mr Museveni] gave an instruction that I should be eliminated. I know he will try to block me from running as he has not received any serious challenge in 34 years."

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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