Thursday, October 26th, 2023. The Neuehouse, Manhattan New York — National Geographic releases a new documentary, “Bobi Wine: The People’s President,” filmed by Director, Moses Bwaoy.
The 121 minute (2 hours and 1 minute) documentary focuses on the trials and tribulations faced by the humanitarian, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known by his stage name Bobi Wine and his wife, Barbie Kyagulanyi. The singer, actor, Ugandan politician and a former Member of Parliament for Kyadondo County East constituency in Uganda’s Central Region survived seven assassination attempts on his life while he ran for the presidency. Bobi Wine also leads the National Unity Platform political party; a political and social liberation political party that is progressive in its mission, positioning itself as a social democratic organization, guided by the principles of servant leadership, equality, transparency, accountability, freedom, liberty and social justice for the citizens of Uganda. The screening for this film was held at the Neuehouse and Moderated by the eloquent filmmaker and Director Amir Bar-Lev (publication credits include: Newsweek, Rollingstone, Village Voice).
In June 2019, Bobi Wine, a native of Uganda who grew up without his parents, in a more impoverished and harsh space of Uganda, announced his candidacy for the 2021 Ugandan presidential election; but not with little resistance faced by environmental factors, such as the COVID-19 Pandemic, placing a strain on the public gatherings of his supporter and with equal, if not more pushback from the Ugandan police, under the directive of president, Yoweri Museveni, who’s served the country of Uganda for over 30 years. Incumbent Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine), took part in the 2021 election, garnering over 7 million signatures of votes to run for president from the people of Uganda, who also experienced hardships during the Museveni leadership.
Unfortunately, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine), lost the race for presidency, according to official results, placing the incumbent, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, as the victor; although Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, along with several citizens, claims this result was fraudulent. Not only had the civil leader been beaten and hospitalized by the regime, but had lost many family members and friends who were beaten, killed or had gone missing due to their unyielding support of Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine).
This moving documentary has so much wrapped up in one film. What is most impressive is that first time filmmaker, Moses Bwayo, shot 5,000 hours of film and brilliantly condensed the most intricate footage into two hours. Bwayo highlights the love story of the charismatic couple that led Robert and Barbie together, and the strength of their union that helped them survive this trying and dangerous season of their lives. He captures the power of woman, Barbie Kyagulanyi, who remains poised, exhibiting grace under fire as she navigates her children and family through extended periods of time apart from her husband, Robert, the man we call Bobi Wine; Barbie, not knowing if her spouse was dead or alive. Bwayo captures the story of liberation, documenting the campaigns, the arrests and the volatility that surround Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) during his fervent run for office. With an unbiased eye, he captures the stories of heartbreak, brutal murders, hostility and literally blood in the streets of Uganda. With enthusiasm and belief in a greater mission, his film illustrates a story of hope, pulling the viewers in to chant for the success of Bobi Wine; albeit we are aware of the fate of this brave leader to take on such a powerful authority that is Museveni; and most importantly this film serves as an eye opener to the world that is blindly unaware of the suffering of the People of Uganda and other nations of the world, who face day-to-day tragedies, as they beg for and seek asylum and equal rights as human beings.
I highly recommend checking this documentary out; this film garners, for the respective countries, a new level of appreciation for the freedoms we are afforded in the United States of America and in other countries where citizens are allowed to find better ways of living and even the freedom to gather in peaceful protests. “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” is available on the following platforms: Disney plus, FuboTV and will air worldwide on YoutubeTV, Nov 5th, 2023.