For the first time, Canadian advocate Robert Amsterdam, has spoken out on his relationship with the National Unity Platform’s presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
Robert Amsterdam, a Canadian lawyer and founder of Amsterdam & Partners LLP both loathed and loved for his advocacy work in Africa and beyond, says he only provides pro bono services to Bobi contrary to what many think.
“For the record My firm’s efforts on behalf of Bobi Wine are pro bono. No government or agency of any government funds our African work on behalf of opposition leaders” Amsterdam posted on his twitter account.
Amsterdam’s relationship with Bobi Wine became public in August 2018 following the arrest of five Parliamentarians, including Kyagulanyi, who he claimed had been tortured and held in illegal detention in the aftermath of a by-election in Arua in which Kyagulanyi’s driver was shot dead.
Amsterdam was seen standing alongside Bobi Wine in Western capitals where he had been taken seeking for advanced medical treatment.
Later in April 2019 when the security agencies in Uganda blocked the singer’s concerts culminating into a clash with Bobi’s supporters and his arrest, Amsterdam was out to provide advocacy to Bobi who had then been identified as his client.
In his open letter to President Donald Trump, Amsterdam highlighted the abusive conduct of President Museveni’s regime and their “unlawful persecution” of Bobi Wine.
The International lawyer argued that Bobi Wine was using music to criticize government excesses and therefore it was intended to muzzle him. He also pointed “gross human rights abuses” noting that critics of the Ugandan government die under mysterious circumstances including car accidents, apparent poisonings, drive-by shootings, etc.
In the letter, Amsterdam claimed it is time for the United States and other Western donors to ensure that all aid to Uganda is conditional on the holding of free and fair elections but also ending the harassment of his client, Mr Kyagulanyi, would be an “important first step.”
Amsterdam went on to urge Trump that it is time for the United States to reconsider its relationship with Uganda and cut off military support to Uganda, claiming that US military support has helped President Museveni to suppress the rule of law.
He also accused the Ugandan military for illegally funneling weapons and other military hardware donated by the European Union and the US government into neighboring countries fueling conflicts in the region.
Since then, Amsterdam has continued to provide emotional (as seen in his tweets) and legal support to Bobi Wine, interesting himself in Uganda’s internal affairs especially relating to governance.
“The attacks on Nick Opiyo and journos are like shooting out the lights before a robbery. However we are all complicit in watching this slow motion train wreck and not focusing on the rigging of the election to come!” Amsterdam recently reacted to the arrest of Human Right’s lawyer Nicholas Opiyo.
Amsterdam is however accused of using international networks to interfere in affairs of sovereign countries in interest of powerful businesses and bodies targeting countries natural resources especially oil.
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