Prolific Nigerian writer, Wole Soyinka, has expressed his support for Bobi Wine’s presidential run in Uganda’s upcoming elections. According to Quartz Africa, Soyinka has backed Bobi Wine’s presidential run to topple current president Yoweri Museveni’s three-decade long rule. Bobi Wine, real name Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, is the youngest presidential candidate at just 38 years-old. Woyinka reportedly stated that Wine is now the “face of democracy” for Uganda ahead of the nation’s 2021 elections taking place this Thursday.
According to Face2Face Africa, Soyinka has been following Wine before he even announced his candidacy. The democratic mission for Africa is reportedly the reason cited by Soyinka for throwing his weight behind Wine’s running for the presidency. An outspoken advocate for human rights, Soyinka met Museveni in his earlier years has said that he is “fed up with leadership of old sick men”.
The Nobel Literature Laureate reportedly met Wine in 2019 during a symposium on legendary Nigerian Afrobeat founder, Fela Kuti. This meeting followed Wine’s arrest in 2018 in which Soyinka, Angelique Kidjo, Femi Kuti and a number of high profile personalities signed a petition in support of Wine’s release. Soyinka has a long history of political activism including the war between Nigeria and Biafra in 1967 which led to him to go into exile. In the 1970s, he joined protests against Uganda’s dictator, Idi Amin. Soyinka’s condemnation of Museveni is deeply related to the fight to end Amin’s violent rule which he explained as follows:
“We just have to ask Museveni to stop terrorizing Ugandan people, to stop behaving even worse than Idi Amin against who we all rose. I met Museveni during the fight against Sani Abacha [former Nigerian military dictator]. At the time we met it was still possible to consider him a democratic leader. Today he’s joined the gang—the enemies of society.”
Unsurprisingly, the young political leader of the People Power Movement (PPM) has faced countless arrests. A proverbial thorn in Museveni’s side, he has faced charges of treason and “intending to annoy” President Museveni. Wine is not one to cower to Museveni’s intimidations but according to BBC, he is taking precautions by campaigning in a bullet proof vest and helmet following the recent murder of his bodyguard.