Leadership in Action: Bobi Wine

March 25, 2024  • Aspen Ministers Forum (AMF)

For the last 37 years, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has ruled his country with an iron first, violently suppressing protest and democratic challenge. In the second episode of Season 3 of the Leadership in Action series, The Bertelsmann Foundation and the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ministers Forum are proud to share the story of Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine, a beloved musician turned political opposition leader in Uganda. This episode takes the viewers inside Wine’s perilous fight for democracy.

“In just under 15 minutes, this episode takes you through my transformation from being one of Uganda’s most successful musicians to leading millions of citizens struggling to restore freedom and democracy in a country ruled by one of Africa’s most brutal dictators. The episode summarises what terror we have endured in our quest for good governance, but also highlights why we, nevertheless, remain committed to that mission. One day, Uganda shall be free!” said Wine. 

Bobi Wine emerged from the neighborhoods of Kampala as a popular musician, by his telling, singing party tunes. As Kyagulanyi became exposed to the injustices in his country, his music transformed into anthems of freedom. Eventually, this pathway led him into politics and the leadership of the opposition party. Despite police beatings, disappearances, house arrests, and the murder of his close associates and supporters, Wine continues to show leadership in action.

This is his story, in his own words – his dream for democracy.

Watch more videos from the Leadership in Action series here.  The Aspen Ministers Forum is a nonpartisan initiative of former Foreign Ministers from around the world. The group meets regularly to engage in roundtable discussions and various forums where participants leverage their history of constructive negotiations, policy acumen, and continued influence to develop new strategies that address difficult global problems.  Learn more about the Aspen Ministers Forum here.