Monday, September 11, 2006

The ghetto president

EDGAR R. BATTE
MISUNDERSTOOD: Despite his Toyota Landcruiser bearing the words ‘100 percent bad news’, Bobi Wine says he is not as bad as people perceive him to be
No other local artiste has come under more public criticism about his or her behaviour than Bobi Wine. And so EDGAR R. BATTE caught up with the dread locked "Bad Man from Kamwokya."
Good evening, bad man?I'm fine. This time round, I would like you to help me and make people know the real truth about me. I have never been justly written about. When they look at my muscular body, mean face and the scars on my body, they see me as a bad man yet I'm no longer a bad man.
Well, now you have the chance to say something about yourself…Bobi Wine is a 26-year-old educated husband of Barbie and father of Solomon Sekayi Nyanzi Kampala Galyenkanawa Kyagulanyi II. I work and earn but above all, most people especially the media have misunderstood me. You [media] don't hate me but you misunderstand me.
You must be talking about reports that you often fight. Honestly, don't you fight?Since 1996, I have been involved in only two brawls. Last year I beat up Ronnie Banton during the East Africa Music Festival at Munyonyo after he poured beer on me in front of my father. But I forgave him when he apologised. The other fight is when I punched Chameleone last year in Ange Noir and he sustained a swollen cheek. I have been provoked in every fight I have been involved in, but because people see that I'm more fierce and stronger, they say I beat up people. However, it's over a year since I last fought.
BAD MAN STATUS: Bobi Wine says people misunderstand him because of his mean looks. Photos by Willy Tamale
Maybe you are no longer fighting because people know you are bad news and they fear to provoke you.Perhaps, but even if they did, I would never fight again. I only have two more fights in life. One will be in court in case my wife tries to divorce me, and the other is fighting death. I will never go physical with anybody. Not because I'm no longer strong but because now I'm a parent.
A parent. How is Bobi Wine the father at home?At home I'm not Bobi Wine but Taata Solomon (father of Solomon). I'm not a ruler, though once in a while like any other man, I rule the house, but most times I'm a buddy to my wife, son and my young brothers. When we're together it's about playing, eating, praying and sleeping.
About praying, you once got saved but you're still doing secular music. How do you relate with God?I'm not a mulokole (saved); I'm a strong believer, a Christian and a God fearing man. I'm not under any pastor. Every Sunday we vote on where to go for services. Barbie likes KPC; I prefer Kansanga Miracle Centre and my brothers like Lubaga Cathedral but we always find reasons of going somewhere.If Barbie is the one driving she will take us to KPC but if we are going with Solomon, then it's Lubaga.
It seems Solomon is among the decision makers at home although he is too young to talk.I treat him like a little prince. Some times he wakes up earlier than me but he doesn't leave bed until I pick him to go and we eat berries. I have berries in my compound and he likes them very much. If there is any ripe jackfruit, I will climb the tree and leave him on the swing but if he insists on going with me, I will climb with him in my hands.
Don't tell me there's such a house to rent in Kampala where you have a compound with all kinds of fruits, swings and all sorts of things?Don't you know ? I built a 19-bedroom house in a place called Magere along Gayaza Road? I bought that land two years ago when it was a forest of nine acres but I've transformed it into a luxurious residential site suitable for me as the president.
By the way, we hear you're the president of the ghetto. Can you please elaborate?Initially I was the president of Firebase Crew, a group of upcoming artistes aspiring to greater heights. Coincidentally I was born in a ghetto like most of the crewmembers. Then there are those music crews that came up in different ghettos (slums) of Kampala who think like us. After I did the Ghetto song, they came to me and asked that we start a government of all ghettos and I become the president - so I did. Currently, I have ministers and Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) in every Kampala ghetto. I did my cabinet reshuffle a few months ago when I made Chagga the Prime Minister while Buchaman remained the Vice President. Chagga is also in charge of ethics and integrity because I believe he is the most disciplined local artiste after Gen. Mega Dee.
Who are the RDCs?Red Banton is the RDC Makindye, Mad Tiger is for Lubaga North, Original Designer is for Lubaga South, In Kawempe South I have Lord Beaten but for the sake of space I will have to mention only a few. They speak for and on behalf of the President Bobi Wine.
So, you don't recognise President Museveni since you have your own government?Our government is totally at par with the Central government and we are Kabaka's men. We are not a political government. We get directives from God. We fight to air the people's views through music.
So, Barbie is also a first lady?Definitely, she is. We spend 80 percent of our time together laughing but the rest of the time she's discussing politics and she's the brightest woman you could come across.Besides being loving, she also likes playing a lot. We compete in bike riding and she reaches the finishing line before me but I always win her in arm-wrestling. She is a stronger Christian and at home she has made it a law that we must pray before going to bed. Even if I come back home tired, I will have to thank God for the day.Does she also force you to do chores at home?Umm…I always cook the fish and pork, and maybe when we have an argument with her on who cooks what better than who. My main duty is to look after the compound, the flowers and feeding the birds and animals. I have all types of animals, from pigs, goats, cows, rabbits and horses. I have chicken, a parrot, and I had ducks but I threw them out, Barbie hates them because they are dirty. Duck meat is my favourite.
And you have a marijuana garden?When people who are believed to be violent talk about a gun, everybody gets alarmed, yet others move comfortably with them. When I talk about marijuana they say there goes a drug addict. Just like I can't come and tell everybody that I'm a coffee drinker, I won't come and say I take marijuana. But to me every creation is blessed as long as it enhances livelihood. My precise answer is that marijuana is like any other plant whether to be used or not to be used by man depending on their interests.
Sections of local press have linked you to having an affair with Juliana.People have said all sorts of things but clearly Juliana and I are good friends and musical partners. Of course if anybody saw you with a beautiful girl, they would imagine something deep going on. I know I could get any woman I want but I made my choice long time ago and I think it's the best choice I have done. I have a woman who loves and satisfies me in every aspect of life and that is Barbie.
What is your honest opinion on the Pam Awards?I know I will be the artiste of the year. What do you think? I don't know what other people think but I think I deserve it. This year I've done the biggest hits, Bada, Kabaseke, Adam Ne Kaawa and Ghetto.
Tell us about your launch today?The platinum show is at Hotel Equatorial tonight and on Sunday we will be at Ggaba beach where I will sing all my 60 songs. Gates open at 5 a.m. and performances start at 10 a.m. until 10 a.m. the next day. All Ugandan artistes will be there. My new cabinet will swear-in at Ggaba. I will also appoint new RDCs on that day.

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