Nigerian musicians Omah Lay and Tems and their manager, Muyiwa Awoniyi were arrested in Uganda for violating COVID-19 protocols by performing at a concert in that country.
However, it was discovered that the organisers of the concert had actually gotten permission from the authorities to stage the concert and the Ugandan Police had provided security for the artistes from the airport to their hotel and also at the concert venue. The police only arrested the artistes after an outcry by Ugandan musicians led by Bebe Cool.
Bebe Cool is a Ugandan musician that has very close ties to the government of President Yoweri Museveni. He began campaigning for Museveni after another musician, Bobi Wine, became a politician and began campaigning against President Museveni in 2017. Bobi Wine is contesting against President Museveni in the January 14, 2021 elections. President Museveni, who seized power in 1986, is running for a 6th term in office.
Bebe Cool had complained that Ugandan musicians were banned from performing in front of crowds due to COVID-19 protocols and yet some Nigerian artistes were given permission to perform. He vowed to do everything to “fail the concert”.
However, his actions backfired when a lot of Ugandans attacked him online for instigating the arrest of the Nigerians. Some Ugandans said that Bebe Cool should also be arrested because he led large crowded rallies in support of President Museveni. Some asked why the Ugandan musicians that performed at Omah Lay’s concert were not arrested and only the Nigerians were arrested. Bobi Wine posted pictures of a concert that some Ugandan musicians held in support of President Museveni and said that the arrest of Omah Lay and Tems had nothing to do with COVID-19, but instead it was an attempt by Bebe Cool to gain fame.
Bebe Cool subsequently called for the release of the Nigerians. He also posted a picture of their release documents and made it seem like he was responsible for their release.
However, the Nigerians were actually released due to a high level diplomatic effort by the Nigerian Government. The Nigerian foreign minister spoke to the Ugandan foreign minister and the Ugandans apologised for the arrest.
Now Tems and Muyiwa Awoniyi have accused Bebe Cool of sending people to break into their hotel rooms and being behind their arrest. They also said that Bebe Cool lied and that he had nothing to do with their release.