Uganda: American rap artist and singer Akon has drawn criticism from rights activists over his meetings with Uganda’s president as he pursues the development of a futuristic city in the country of East Africa.
Akon helps restore President Yoweri Museveni’s reputation after an election marred earlier this year by violence, a shutdown on the internet and allegations of votes, the American group Human Rights Foundation and Vanguard Africa said in a joint letter told Akon. shared late Monday.
“Museveni has exploited your meeting with him for official propaganda, as his regime wants to take advantage of your worldwide prestige to whitewash its image and divert it from its most recent wave of repression,” the letter insisted. to ‘expressly make clear’ that he does not endorse Museveni.
Museveni’s biggest opponent in the January election was reggae singer Bobi Wine, who challenged the president’s victory as fraudulent and wanted to push the international community’s intervention on what he saw as a cruel dictatorship. Museveni, an American ally on regional security, claimed he won fairly.
There are also growing concerns in Uganda about an unknown number of opposition supporters being held without trial by security forces. On Tuesday, a group of United Nations experts, who do not speak for the UN itself, urged Ugandan authorities to “immediately stop the brutal repression of its political opponents”.
Akon’s arrival in Uganda earlier this month has sparked outrage among government officials who see his visit as a blessing for efforts to attract tourists. The singer traveled by military helicopter to meet Museveni at his rural home in western Uganda. A second meeting took place on Museveni’s farm in Central Uganda.
Museveni said of Akon’s search for business opportunities that he “would like to have such a discussion that will help our people and Africa in general”.
But some say Akon’s visit has hampered democracy efforts in Uganda, and others in the country say the square miles of land Uganda donates to the singer should rather be allocated to local investors who are desperate for such an opportunity.
Asked if he was concerned that he was being accused of collaborating with an African leader who had been in power for decades, Akon told the local NBS channel that ‘it honestly just does not bother me. It is clear that democracy in different places just works differently, and not every place in the world is made for democracy.”
The singer added that a group of anonymous investors who support him are considering ‘whatever the people need’. Then it is our job to support the government to make this happen. ‘
Akon’s Uganda plans include a music festival to promote local talent.
Akon has made headlines over the past few years as a pan-African businessman interested in opportunities on the continent of 1.3 billion people.
His most ambitious goal is to build a $ 6 billion utopian city in Senegal that he described as a ‘real Wakanda’, comparing it to the technologically advanced fictional African place in the movie, Black Panther.
Akon City is aiming to have its own hospital, police station and cryptocurrency, along with a spa, a technology center, recording studios and a zone called ‘Senewood’ that developers hope will help develop Senegal’s film industry.
Senegalese authorities have allocated Akon land outside the capital Dakar, but construction has yet to begin.
Akon, whose real name is Aliaune Thiam, started a group in 2014 that supports solar energy projects in rural areas in African countries. The inspiration for Akon Lighting Africa comes after he found out his grandmother still uses candles to light her house in Senegal.
In December, a company affiliated with him entered into an agreement with a state miner to develop a copper and cobalt mine in the Congo.