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UK Lifts Decade-Long Ban on Bobi Wine Over Anti-Gay Lyrics

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The UK has officially lifted the ban on Bobi Wine, the leader of Uganda’s National Unity Platform (NUP), allowing his entry after a ten-year exclusion. This ban had been imposed due to contentious anti-gay lyrics he released in 2014, urging action against a group he referred to as “battymen.”

The lifting of the ban came after immense pressure from human rights activists on the UK’s Home Office, seeking to bar Kyagulanyi from entering the UK and cancel his Troxy Arena performance.

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In a statement following the ban’s revocation, Kyagulanyi expressed his happiness: “I am very glad to inform you that the ban against me from entering the UK has finally been overturned, and I will soon be visiting the UK after more than 10 years.”

Acknowledging the support of their legal team in the UK and the People Power diaspora supporters, he addressed the disparity between permitting Gen. Museveni while denying his entry, both involved in the nation’s political landscape.

Kyagulanyi has been in discussions with British diplomats, international lawyers, and activists for his travel to the UK. His cancellation of two performances in Birmingham and London, in support of the Ugandan drama and music group, the Ebonies, due to objections from gay rights campaigners, was a consequence of his controversial lyrics.

Petitions raised concerns about his song lyrics, specifically calling for violence against the LGBTQ+ community, which contravenes the UK’s laws prohibiting incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation.

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Though the UK Home Office refrained from commenting on individual cases, Kyagulanyi clarified his stance, stating he doesn’t intend to threaten individuals based on their sexual orientation but disagrees with homosexuality, a sentiment echoed by many Ugandans.

The singer-turned-politician gained recognition through socially conscious songs addressing societal issues and urban politics, reflecting the struggles of less privileged communities. Despite challenges and opposition due to his music, Kyagulanyi has consistently maintained his growing fan base.

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Following the controversial anti-homosexuality law in Uganda, Western nations, including the United States, criticized the law as a violation of human rights, pondering potential sanctions against the country.

Despite the lifting of the UK ban, the implications of his controversial lyrics continue to spark debate regarding freedom of speech and gay rights in Uganda.

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