Uganda: Commission bans song for being critical of City Authority Director

27 September 2012


The Uganda Communication Commission denied Bobi Wine’s song ‘Tugambire ku Jennifier’ airplay in Ugandan radio and tv because the body received complaints from several people about that it is abusive.

The Human Rights Network for Journalists called on the Uganda Communication Commission to cancel the ban.

In the song, Bobi Wine (real name: Sentamu Kyagulanyi) raises various problems in Kampala, ranging from increased murders, robberies to eviction of vendors off Kampala streets. According to The Observer, it “summarizes the pain that the less fortunate people are going through under the new Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) headed by Jennifer Musisi, its Executive Director.”

The title means: ‘Please talk to Jennifer on our behalf’. Even though Bobi Wine states in his lyrics how Jennifer Musisi, according to him, has oppressed the citizens, Bobi Wine says that his song was not an attack on any person, especially since he did not mention the second name of the Jennifer he was referring to.

“I do not have any person I am targeting in my song. I am simply talking about my people in the ghetto, not an individual,” Bobi told the newspaper Kigali Konnect on a phone from South Africa.

He points out in the song what he does in a day which revolves around the ghetto. He talks about his eating breakfast, washing his car, among other daily activities which he does.

The chorus translates as: ‘Tell Jennifer on our behalf to reduce on her strictness because the town is ours…’

Asking for fair hearing
Wokulira Ssebagala, coordinator of Human Rights Network for Journalists, said that the commission should avoid curtailing Bobi Wine’s freedom of expression but rather accord him a fair hearing as the investigations continue.

Article 29, 1A of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 states that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and other media.”

In addition, the regional charters and international conventions that the Ugandan government has signed provide for this right. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; such a right shall include the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of their choice.

Musicians warned
Head of the Uganda Communication Commission, engineer Godfrey Mutabazi, said that is investigations about the song are underway because several people had complained that it was abusive and the commission could not allow the airwaves to be used to insult others.

In their statement, Uganda Communications Commission warned musicians against attacking other people through their music and warned broadcasting channels against playing such songs.


The Guardian – 26 September 2012:
Ugandan song banned from the airwaves

UG Pulse – 25 September 2012:
Human Rights Body Calls On UCC To Lift Ban On Bobi Wines Song

Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda / IFEX – 24 September 2012:
Ugandan radio stations forced to take song off the air

The Observer – 18 September 2012:
Tugambire ku Jennifer rubs govt the wrong way – 6 September 2012:
Uganda Communications Commission Bans Bobi Wine Jennifer Musisi’s Song – ‘Tugambire Ku Jennifer’




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