Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will be officially facing off with pop star Bobi Wine for Uganda’s presidential seat in 2021. When Bobi Wine announced he will be running for the presidency, he chose the red beret as his signature, calling it a symbol of resistance.
Bobi Wine’s continued symbolic use of the red beret has been rubbing military officials the wrong way, and finally got them to designate the red beret and tunic as official military clothing on Monday in Uganda’s first ever gazette of all military clothing. Any member of the public found in possession of all military clothing will be convicted and imprisoned for a term not exceeding five years.
“The dress code for the UPDF (Uganda People’s Defence Forces) has been gazetted. The action was endorsed by the top organs of the army which also commended the dress committee for concluding the task assigned to it years back. It manifests the commitment to define identity and outlook of a professional army as well as adhering to the EAC (East African Community) protocols,” said the army in a statement.
This essentially means that opposition leader Bobi Wine and his supporters will be breaching the laws of the land if by any chance they decide to don the red beret and the tunic in their political rallies. However, his loyal supporters have said that they will not bow to pressure, and refuse to be intimidated by the gazette notice.
“We shall continue to wear the revolutionary red berets. No amount of intimidation will make us fear to exercise our rights. By designating our dress code as military wear, the government is moving to attempt to ban the People Power Movement and we are ready to face any action the government takes,” a youth leader said.
While the law criminalizes wearing of military uniforms, it is yet to get to the grounds to combat the open market in which this military clothing is sold.