Bobi Wine’s long-time singing partner, Buken Ali (Nubian Li) has revealed it was him that sold the idea of running for political office to Bobi Wine, adding that life has never been the same since the self-proclaimed ‘Ghetto President’ became Member of Parliament (MP).
Robert Kyagulanyi ran for MP for Kyadondo East in a by-election in 2017 and won with a landslide victory (78%). But the story on how it all began has never really been clear.
“I remember we were driving from Jinja. Then we read a news headline by New Vision that the Kyadondo East MP sit had fallen vacant,” Nubian Li said on a talk show on NTV, Friday.
“As we conversed, I told him ‘Bobi, do you know this is luck knocking? You stay in Kyadondo and now there’s a vacant seat’. But he didn’t care at the time”.
Nubian Li says much as Bobi Wine had been involved in political activism through music, this had done less to bring about real impact. This was an opportunity for him to amplify his voice and create change, he said.
“I told him ‘You stand a chance if you contest as MP. Just make consultations with the people’. He was like ‘Yeah?’. Initially, he wasn’t convinced, but when he consulted, the feedback was encouraging”.
What followed was launching the campaign, period Nubian Li describes as challenging but also fun. He says the campaign drained Bobi Wine significantly and that he lost too much weight.
The support from the electorate especially the youths made it clear to Bobi’s camp that it was a done deal. Nubian recounts that majority of the youths often accepted the money from the NRM camp but later swore their support for Bobi. Many of them had acquired their national I.Ds and registered to vote.
“They were determined to change the popular notion that youths don’t vote. All that gave us confidence”.
In his view, the 2017 campaign was bigger than Kyadondo East constituency and that it resonated across the entire country. The subsequent victory also played a big role in changing the perceptions surrounding the role of youths in politics and governance, he said.
“Bobi’s involvement in politics created a spark. It opened up many people’s eyes. Politics was known to be for the old folks, and the young folks had been relegated to alcohol and entertainment, our generation had been sidelined”.
“We were losing our country yet we will be the old generation tomorrow. It would be unfortunate if we did nothing”.
Nubian Li says he does not regret that he or Bobi Wine who has already his Presidential bid in the 2021 elections, decided to involve themselves into politics.
Although there have been tough sacrifices such as not being able to hold music shows for close to two years, Nubian says the Fire Base camp has managed to thrive – through other income generating activities and God’s grace.
“I don’t see this ban (on Bobi Wine’s music performances) will be lifted unless the current government changes. Me myself I have seen many of my colleagues’ shows stopped simply because I was on the poster and authorities fear if I perform, Bobi might come along with me”.