MTV Africa Music Awards scheduled to be held in Uganda on February 20 has been postponed.
MTV Base Africa, which organizes the event annually, tweeted the information on Thursday, saying, “MTV Base is postponing the 2021 MTV Africa Music Awards. We will keep fans updated as we have more news.”
MTV had been under pressure to postpone the event following the allegations of human rights violations against the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni.
Ugandan opposition leader, Bobi Wine, was put under house arrest for many days despite losing January’s presidential election marred by widespread violence, intimidation of members of opposition parties by security agencies and allegations of rigging.
Wine recently filed a Supreme Court challenge seeking cancellation of the results of a presidential election that handed victory to incumbent Yoweri Museveni, his party’s lawyer has said.
Museveni, a former guerrilla leader who has led the East African country since 1986, was declared winner of the January 14 election with 59% of the vote, while Wine was given 35%.
Wine, 38, a pop star and lawmaker, rejected the results and said he believed his victory was stolen.
Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, used his youthful energy and a widespread Ugandan love of music to build a large following among young people and present a formidable challenge to Museveni.
On the campaign trail, which Wine once described as a “war zone”, he was forced to wear a bulletproof vest and a ballistics helmet for safety reasons.
To keep a lid on Wine’s support, authorities responded with a violent crackdown. His rallies were routinely broken up with bullets, beatings, teargas and detentions.
Wine was himself on various occasions prevented from appearing on radio talk shows during campaigns and blocked from going to certain parts of the country to canvass votes.
Uganda’s judiciary has over the years drawn criticism from the political opposition and some human rights activists for alleged partisan rulings in high-profile political cases.
Challenges to the results of all the four previous elections won by Museveni have been dismissed by the supreme court.
In the rulings, most judges acknowledged the elections were marred by irregularities, but said those irregularities could not have affected the election’s ultimate result in a substantial manner.
A petition started by one Christine Orr a week ago on change.org, calling for the cancellation of MAMA to hold in Uganda this February, had garnered 960 votes as of the time of filing this report.
Orr wrote regarding the petition: “This is a call to MAMA brought by MTV BASE AFRICA to cancel the event on the 20th February, 2021. Make a stand against what is going on in Uganda.
“Currently Kyagulanyi Robert Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine has been put in illegal House arrest for 10 days currently (24/01/21). Citizens are under constant threat of brutality and death from the dictator Museveni. This is because Museveni lost, so he rigged the election and will do anything to silence those who are trying to speak the truth.
“You should cancel the event and make a stand against this tyrant. It is unacceptable to think this is the right time and place for the MAMA's. I implore you to do the right thing and cancel.”
Regarding the progress of the petition, Orr wrote, “Thank you everyone who has signed and shared and written your reason. I didn’t think it would get the response that it has. We are over 500, let’s push for 1,000.”
One of the signatories, Irene Zalwango, wrote, “Please cancel the event. We are in a fight to rescue our brothers and sisters who are in prisons and in hospitals.”
Another signatory, Musiya Nuru, wrote, “This election must be cancelled amidst Museveni’s rigged elections and human rights abuses placed on Bobi Wine and his supporters, primarily youths. Cancel this event and let the Ugandan government know these actions are unacceptable.”
The MTV Africa Music Awards were established in 2008 by MTV Networks Africa to celebrate the most popular contemporary music in Africa. The 2008 and 2010 events took place in Nigeria, first in Abuja and then in Lagos.”