Reggae star-turned-politician Bobi Wine is using music to galvanise young Ugandans and encourage them to vote. 

Long before he ran for president, Ugandan reggae star Bobi Wine was already championing the issues important to the country’s young people.

His songs railed against the unemployment and poverty.

At his concerts he attacked the government for the lack of opportunities for the nation’s youth.

But while Bobi Wine quickly became Uganda’s biggest music star, he never forget his roots.

He continued to live in Kampala’s Kamwokya slum and recorded his hits songs in the studio he built there.

The locals christened him the ‘ghetto president.’

In 2017, Bobi Wine turned his hand to politics, something he saw as a logical next step.

‘All through my musical career, I’ve been singing about the challenges that people go through. It’s like I’ve been campaigning all along.’

Music continues to play an important role in Bobi’s efforts to overthrow the country president, Yoweri Museveni.

Last October he released ‘Ballot or Bullet’, a song he recorded with Jamaican reggae legend Buju Banton.

It references Malcom X’s famous speech of the same name, delivered in Detroit in 1964, where he emphasised the importance of voting in ending racial discrimination.

Despite the fact that there has never been a peaceful handover of power in the country, Bobi Wine hopes that change can be achieved through the ballot box in Uganda too.

‘This no joking business,’ he says in the face of intimidation and voilence. ‘We are leading an entire generation out of slavery’.

Main Image: Bobi Wine on the election trail (© Dembe Masane)