Police has arrested four Radio Simba staff, who also belong to a comedy group called Bizonto.
The four are part of a morning show named ‘Binsangawano‘. Their satirical videos have gone viral in recent months. In one of the latest pieces in criticism of tribalism, they mockingly prayed for Uganda’s top leaders.
Former spy, and now presidential aspirant, Charles Rwomushana criticized the group for the video.
“We need to ruthlessly smash hate campaign,” Rwomushana wrote.
RADIO SIMBA SPEAKS ON POLICE RAID, BIZONTO ARREST
The raid interrupted normal programming, prompting the producer to play music. Police drove the four to its headquarters at Naguru in Kampala.
In a statement, Radio Simba confirmed the arrest of Julius Sserwanja aka Kidomoole, Maliseeri Mbabaali aka Uncle Luyuguumo, Peter Sssaabakaaki aka Omuzinyuuzi and Gold Ki Matono Opeto.
The station said its staff face charges of stoking sectarianism and tribalism.
Uganda’s political opposition has variously accused President Yoweri Museveni of promoting tribalism and nepotism.
But Museveni insists all government appointments are on merit and follow the country’s laws.
In recent years, entertainers have got in trouble with security agencies over various reasons, including inciting violence and fomenting sectarianism.
The July 24 morning arrest came hours after police arrested singer Gerald Kiwewa over his Nantaba song.
Former minister and Kayunga Woman MP Idah Nantaba had reportedly filed a complaint at CID Kibuli, accusing Kiwewa of attacking and defaming her in the song.
The role of entertainers in Uganda’s politics has recently become central, with some like singers Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu aka Bobi Wine joining politics, and others aligning with political organisations for mobilization purposes.
WHAT’S IN CONTROVERSIAL BIZONTO SKIT?
In a seven-minute skit clip published on YouTube on July 15 and widely shared on Facebook, Bizonto (who call themselves ‘the singing fools’), list agencies headed by officials from President Museveni’s western Uganda region.
Some of the agencies listed are: Electoral Commission (EC) Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda Prisons, Uganda National Roads Authority, National Social Security Fund, and Bank of Uganda (BoU).
They even claim that deputy police chief Sabiiti Muzeeyi, who comes from western Uganda, is more powerful than his boss Martins Okoth Ochola.
Bizonto go on to urge Ugandans to tell their children to pray for their leaders such as URA’s John Musinguzi Rujoki, BoU’s Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and Ministry of Finace permanent secretary Keith Muhakanizi who will send money for conducting 2021 elections to Electoral Commission’s Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama.
They go on to say that Police’s Muzeeyi, UPDF chief of Defense Forces (CDF) Gen David Muhoozi and security minister Gen Elly Tumwine will offer security for the Byabakama-organised elections and ensure Museveni wins and stays in office.
The comedians also imagine that chief jailer Johnson Byabashaija would be the one to lock Museveni behind bars if he lost and refused to hand over power.
LAW ON SECTARIANISM
According to Section 41 of the Penal Code, sectarianism is 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.
Upon conviction, Binzoto Comedy group members could face be jailed for a term not exceeding five years.