National Unity Platform president, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known by his music name Bobi Wine, was Friday night detained by Authorities at Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.
A tweet on Bobi Wine’s official Twitter account @HEBobiWine published at 4:09 am (Ugandan time) on 08th October 2022 from an iPhone, announced his arrest when he landed in Dubai at 8:30 pm. It is believed that an admin was communicating on behalf of Bobi Wine who normally tweets from an Android gadget.
“It’s 5 am. I’ve been held & interrogated for 8hhrs. They asked me about NUP. Its leaders, their phone numbers, my family members & their contacts! I have all the necessary travel docs. They’ve confiscated my passport & my phone,” the tweet said.
An hour later, another tweet was published from an Android phone saying: “In Dubai to perform at a charity concert to assist some of the Ugandan immigrant workers. Been held at the airport for almost 10 hours, being interrogated mostly about NUP! My phone and passport have now been returned. Hopefully, things go as planned. Will give an update. Thanks,”
However, Bobi Wine hours’ later announced he had been released and allowed to formally enter Dubai. It is at this point that Bobi Wine hinted at why he had been arrested.
“After 12hrs (8:30 pm to 9:30 am), I have been finally allowed into Dubai. Hoping that our charity concert, which seemed to be the source of these issues, will be allowed to proceed. We’re only trying to raise awareness and assist the many Ugandans and African immigrant workers,”
Bobi has two music shows scheduled in UAE. Today, 8th October 2022, Bobi Wine will perform at the Abu Hail Club Stadium in Dubai and tomorrow, 9th October 2022, he will be at the Abu Dhabi at Villagio Hotel & Resort.
The Ugandan government has been criticized for neglecting Ugandans who travelled to different Middle East countries seeking work opportunities but instead landed in the traps of human traffickers.
Kyadondo East MP, Muwada Nkunyingi, as the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, recently condemned the deliberate neglect by the government to support and asked for the repatriation of detained and stranded Ugandan nationals in the UAE.
Speaking at Uganda Media Centre, the Minister Of Gender Labour and Social Development., Betty Amongi, said about 452 Ugandans had registered at Al Awir immigration centre for repatriation; however, none of these had gone through the right procedure while flying to UAE.
Minister Amongi said the government of the United Arab Emirates had provided a humanitarian offer of free tickets to all Ugandans who are stranded in the region, allowing them to come back home.
A report provided by officials from the embassy of Uganda in the United Arab Emirates revealed that the majority of the stranded Ugandans in UAE are those who travelled from Uganda illegally and those who overstayed beyond their tourism and visit visas.
Many Ugandans are trafficked from Uganda to UAE with a promise of good employment opportunities only to be sold into slavery, prostitution, hard labour and many have had some of their body organs harvested.