An online campaign calling for the release of five members of the Bizonto Comedy group, also staff at the Bukoto-based Radio Simba, is taking shape, with main opposition leader calling promoters of tribalism ‘bibondo.’
On July 24, Police picked Simon Peter Ssabakaki (Akozonto akato), Julius Ssewanja (Ssabazonto), Marceli Mbabali (Giant zonto) and Gold Kimatono (Jjaja zonto) and Saul Muro Kamya aka Baryanengwe from Radio Simba.
The morning raid on the station interrupted normal programming.
Police Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) spokesperson Charles Mansio Twine said the comedians threatened attacks on government through the videos.
Mansio said the videos had “potential of causing hatred and unnecessary apprehension” and some “had threats of attack on government, and individuals upon which we timely came in to avert the situation.”
Following the arrests, the Bizonto video in question trended online, with people making their verdict on whether it contained content that was sectarian in nature, or that with potential to incite attacks on government.
In his reaction on the news of Bizonto’s arrest, Dr Besigye said “those who practice tribalism, nepotism, cronyism and sectarianism are Bibondo.”
Although he didn’t explain the label, Bibondo appears to be in reference of the powerful government officials who have reportedly enriched themselves at the expense of Ugandans.
“Those who sing about their evil practice are Bizonto! I’ll join the Bizonto.”
It is not clear when police will release Bizonto but they face charges of promoting sectarianism, the practice of degrading or exposing to hatred or contempt or disaffection for anyone on the basis of religion, tribe, or ethnic or regional origin by utterance, printing, publication or performance any such act, according to Section 41 of the Penal Code.
If convicted, Binzoto Comedy group members could serve a jail term of at least five years.