Uganda is a country with a rich musical history known for its traditional sounds of the countryside to the urban beats that often rock the city side. UG has something to offer everyone. However, the country’s music scene has seen its fair share of controversy, with a number of musicians being arrested over the years.
While some arrests might have been justified, others have been seen as politically motivated with the aim of killing free speech and taking down anyone who opposes those in power. Uganda has a long history of using the very law meant to protect its people instead silence them, and musicians are often targeted due to their large following.
Today, we get to explore a list of Ugandan musicians that have been arrested before for various reasons though, of course, some are so obvious that UG is now popular for its disrespect towards the right to free speech.
These are some of the Ugandan musicians that have been arrested
1. Bobi Wine
Regarded as one of the most famous Ugandan musicians, Bobi Wine has surely had his fair share of arrests and beatings over the past few years more so after he decided to join the race for Uganda’s presidency. In 2020, Bobi Wine was arrested and charged with treason after he held a series of concerts that were seen as a challenge to the government.
He was eventually released on bail but still remains a target of the authorities. The popular singer-songwriter has become a vocal critic of the Ugandan government gaining worldwide media attention.
2. Nubian Li
A close friend and ally of Bobi Wine, Nubian Li has also faced the law several times and has been arrested for his political views. The rapper and producer was arrested in 2018 after he released a song titled “Freedom” that criticised Sevo. He was charged with sedition and released on bail after several months in jail. Nubian Li, however, has continued to release music that openly criticises the government, and he has been arrested several more times since then.
3. Sheebah Karungi
Surprised? Don’t be. Sheebah Karungi has actually been on the wrong side of the law before. In 2018, the singer found herself in a tough spot after she was arrested for being involved in a violent fight with another woman. She was later charged with assault and released on bail.
4. Ykee Benda
Apart from being a popular music artist and producer, Ykee Benda has also had his challenges when it comes to the law. In 2018, Ykee was arrested for allegedly promoting violence in his music. He was later released on bail after a few days, but his arrest sparked a debate about freedom of expression in Uganda.
5. Ameria Nambala
In 2019, Ugandan singer Ameria Nambala was arrested after she was found in possession of 48 passports that did not belong to her. Nambala was accused of fraud and was sentenced to three years in prison. However, she was released after serving only a few months of her sentence.
In 2019, singer Pallaso was arrested after he was found in possession of marijuana. He was charged with drug possession and released on bail. Though, we are still surprised at how he managed to dodge that bullet.
7. Jose Chameleone
We are all aware of how Ugandans love to dodge taxes. Well, in 2021, singer Jose Chameleone was arrested after he failed to pay taxes on his earnings. He was charged with tax evasion and released on bail.
8. Fik Fameica
Who would have thought that back in 2019 Fik Fameica and Sheebah Karungi would both be arrested over a music video? On March 8, 2019, both music artists were arrested for releasing a sexually suggestive music video called “Nkwatako.”There was a lot of debate on whether it was a rightful arrest or not but both musicians finally found their freedom after they were later released on bail on March 12, 2019.
These are just a few examples of Ugandan musicians who have been arrested over the years. While the reasons for their arrests vary, they all serve as a reminder of the challenges that musicians face in Uganda. Despite these challenges, Ugandan musicians continue to create music that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. They are an important part of the country’s culture and they continue to inspire people all over the world.