Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Squid Flicks: Bobi Wine: The People's President

Title: Bobi Wine: The People's President
Directors: Christopher Sharp and Moses Bwayo
Original Release: September 1, 2022
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5

In 2021, popular musician Bobi Wine ran for President in Uganda against longtime incumbent Yoweri Museveni.  Academy Award-nominated documentary Bobi Wine: The People's President follows Wine's political career from his first campaign for parliament to his ultimately unsuccessful presidential run.  Museveni, as I post this, is still in power and has been since 1986.  

Unfortunately, free and fair elections don't happen in Uganda.  As is far too common in the world, Museveni uses his essentially absolute power to punish political rivals.  The assaults on Bobi Wine began in 2018, when the popularity of the singer and of his criticism of the regime were on the rise.  He was arrested numerous times and quite obviously tortured to the point where he had to be sent to the United States for medical treatment.  In December 2020, his bodyguard was murdered by military police.  After casting his own vote in the 2021 election, Bobi Wine was placed under house arrest.

My wife felt the documentarians were too enamored of their protagonist.  While I concede that point, the cautionary tale is too important to dismiss.  It was a strange time to watch this movie just as the world learned of the death of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny in a prison colony.  Meanwhile, too many people in my own country are renewing their love affair with a narcissist who openly scoffs at any suggestion that constitutional limits apply to him.  Trevor Noah has been likening Donald Trump to African dictators since 2015.  The global democratic condition seems in woeful decline.  Bobi Wine's story is difficult to watch, largely because it feels too close to American reality for comfort.


  1. That's always been the problem when you elect someone like Museveni or Putin; they never want to leave and will make sure to do anything to avoid that. Really don't want that to happen here.

  2. Sounds like an important documentary to watch in our current political climate, but I'm afraid few will learn lessons for the story.