Bobi Wine offers 500 million shillings to buy off King Oyo’s COVID 19 anthem as govt dilly dallies
Security agencies are concerned that Opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, aka Bobi Wine has offered 500 million shillings to buy off copy rights of a COVID 19 song being promoted to become Uganda’s coronavirus anthem that was launched recently by Tooro King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV.
Bobi Wine, a pop star-turned-leading opposition figure in Uganda, has officially announced taking on long-time President Yoweri Museveni in the country’s 2021 national elections.
The 36-year-old has emerged as a leading critic of 74-year-old Museveni, striking a chord with young Ugandans with his songs about social justice.
The coronavirus song titled, “COVID 19 and the world,” was wholly funded by King Oyo and “donated” to the Central government as a gift to boost government efforts to contain coronavirus pandemic which has so far claimed 73 lives out of the 7,530 infections.
However, the central government has been dilly dallying on adopting the song. But government officials claim the Kingdom has not officially engaged them on details.
“Those people have not approached me yet. I want to link them to health promotion services so that government takes up the anthem. But they have gotten lost,” Dr. Richard Mugahi, the head of COVID-19 quarantine and assistant commissioner of health services at the Ministry told this newspaper. Mugahi doubles as Tooro Kingdom Minister of Health.
The Tooro King funded Home of Talents, a choir made up of vulnerable students from different universities from his kingdom, to come up with the song.
While launching the song as he celebrated his 25th anniversary on September 12, 2020 at his palace in Fort portal, the capital of his kingdom in western Uganda, King Oyo appealed to the central government to roll out the anthem in local languages.
Sources have told this newspaper that after government failed to adopt the song as a national anthem Bobi Wine stepped in and allegedly offered the composer Dr Mpuuga Moses 500m for the copy rights.
According to highly placed sources, Bobi Wine’s offer is being marketed by Joram Bintamanya of the Forum for Democratic Change, another opposition party.
Intelligence operatives have reportedly been monitoring negotiations for this transaction. “We have put surveillance on Mpuuga and Bintamanya to hear what they are discussing. We even tapped their phones,” a security source disclosed.
This newspaper’s attempts to get Dr Mpuuga for a comment were futile as repeatedly declined to answer his phone and towards filing this report his phone was switched off.
Even Joel Senyonyi, the spokesman of Bobi Wine’s political party, National Unity Platform, did not respond to this writer’s whats app message asking about the transaction. Bitamanya also denied by assigned by Bobi Wine to negotiate procurement of the song. He said; “Why would i do that? Never.”
But the Tooro Kindgom deputy Prime Minister Harriet Nyakake confirmed that several parties were interested in buying off the song’s copyrights.
“There is a lot of fighting (for the song) going on. Some want to buy the song and change some of the words,” Nyakake said in a phone interview.
Bobi Wine according to sources intends to delete from the song all words that praise his archrival President Yoweri Museveni and his NRM government and rewrite it to suite his campaign messages.
Of particular interest are the words in the last chorus that states;
“……We thank you President Museveni,
The ministry of health workers
For the wise decisions made
To protect Uganda.
Bobi Wine has himself sung a coronavirus song titled, “Coronavirus Alert,” which has attracted internal acclaim. In this one, Bobi Wine and Nubian Li expound more on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and how to avoid it. Speaking about the signs, Bobi Wine borrows a Runyankole word, Okwetsyamula, as has been frequently used by the president of late to caution people about sneezing in public during these times.
The video of the song was shot inside a recording studio with just three people, following the guidelines against converging in gatherings of more than 10 people.
King Oyo personally identified a specialist in music to compose the anthem. After three months of intensive work, Dr Mpuuga Moses composed the song, and Ivan Kabwijamu, 87 years, a senior music teacher, and Sseruyange Charles, an East African music specialist, formed Home of Talents choir that is made up of young university students from Tooro. For two weeks, Dr Mpuuga tested the song for perfection.
‘COVID 19 and the World’ reminds all Ugandans that the pandemic is real because it has brought all nations to their knees, and that both the young and old should join hands with government to urgently contain the pandemic because it affects them in equal measure. The song also points out that most governments have abandoned patients suffering from deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis and malaria at the expense of coronavirus. In the last part, Home of Talents choir thank President Yoweri Museveni and Ministry of Health for their exemplary leadership in coming up with effective containment measures.
The anthem has been released at a time most politicians and government officials Uganda have been holding public gatherings that attract throngs putting many at risk of contracting the virus as they prepare for the 2021 general elections.
Nyakake said her Kingdom wants the anthem sung and launched on independence day celebrations on October 9, 2020.
Bobi Wine first came to prominence in 2017 when, as an independent candidate, he won an election to represent a constituency near Kampala.
He has since successfully campaigned for other opposition candidates, raising his profile as a national leader and attracting calls urging him to run for president.
Other Ugandan pop musicians have released a raft of songs and music videos to educate and alert the public about COVID-19.
Notable among them have been Bobi Wine and Nubian Li’s Corona Virus Alert and Bebe Cool’s Corona Distance. But there are also the likes of Pastor Frank Kyeyune’s KatondaYekkaku Corona (God Only On Corona), Dickens Ahabwe’s coronavirus in Uganda and corona by Ykee Benda, King Saha, Joanita Kawalya, B2C, FefeBusu, Dre Cali and MyciOu.
Like most coronavirus songs on Ugandan TV and radio, messages are embedded in videos with visuals and text. Bobi Wine and Nubian Li exploit the text more than the visual element – mostly a studio setting – to underscore their message.
These are simple songs that assume a responsibility to help educate citizens. They are dense in information about COVID-19, about preventing its spread and getting help if one is infected.
Uganda’s national COVID-19 taskforce would do well to employ a multi-faceted approach to its public health communication. One where music – in schools, on radio, on the internet – is embraced as a measure towards preventing disease and loss as well as resettling the victims in their community lives.
CORONA VIRUS (COVID -19)
By Mpuuga Moses
Corona virus is threatening the world
Pushing the nations close to their knees
Royal affluent and the young and old
Corona virus sweeps everyone.
Stanzer 1. Corona causes covid nineteen
That has brought fear and unhappiness to all
Forcing all nations unwelcome lockdown
And world economy breaking down.
Stanzer 2. Education, places of worship were closed
Learning and schools have now gone to our homes
We go by foot or we cycle our bikes
People no longer have jobs to do.
Stanzer 3. Deadly diseases like cancer and Aids
T.B, malaria have been ignored
As now attention is pandemic focused
These others will get a chance to spread.
To avoid Corona : – wash your hands with water and soap
If you want to be safe advised to stay at home
In all the public places wear a mask
And remember to keep social distance
We thank you President Museveni,
The ministry of health workers
For the wise decisions made
To protect Uganda
MR IVAN KABWIJAMU
MR CHARLES SSERUYANGE
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER TORO KINGDOM
UNDER THE AUSPICIES OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS
KING OYO NYIMBA KABAMBA IGURU RUKIDI IV