The pop star-turned-politician, who is one of the President’s fiercest critics, spoke out against Museveni’s 33-year rule at a news conference Wednesday: “Dictators are not massaged out of power, dictators are resisted and we are not going to stop at anything, we are going to resist the Museveni dictatorship,” Wine said in a video of the conference held in the capital Kampala.
Wine was due to hold a concert celebrating Uganda’s Independence Day on Wednesday, but police canceled his show.
Police said they lacked the manpower to ensure the safety of organizers and fans at the event, but Wine disagreed with the decision. The singer, who has held performances bashing Museveni’s government, said the show would go on despite the ban.
Wine, who said police and military had surrounded his home to prevent him from holding the show, escaped them on a motorbike to loud cheers from his fans and supporters. The concert did not hold but Wine addressed his supporters at a briefing instead.
“We are supposed to be celebrating Independence but Ugandans have nothing to celebrate,” Wine told reporters after the incident.
Wine, who is riding on a revolutionary movement called the “People Power” to clinch the presidential seat, accused the government of intimidating his supporters.
“President Museveni is very scared of the ideas that we represent, He believes by blocking us from communication, by stopping us from enjoying our rights, he is going to disempower us, he is going to demotivate us,” Wine said at the conference.
CNN has contacted Museveni’s media aide for comment but has yet to receive a response to Wine’s comments.
The 37-year-old reggae star is running for president in the country’s 2021 elections. His star power has attracted a large following among young Ugandans, who make up more than half of the country’s population.
Wine (real name Robert Kyagulayi) entered the political sphere in Uganda in 2017 and won his parliamentary seat the same year. The MP has been rallying opposition and dissents to his side and has even led a protest against some government policies.
He was charged with treason and detained for weeks in 2018 after a faceoff between his supporters and Museveni’s party descended into chaos during a by-election. Wine said he was tortured in military detention, allegations Museveni dismissed at the time as fake news.