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Ugandan government outlaws Bobi Wine’s signature red beret

The Uganda government has picked Bobi Wine’s signature red beret as official military clothing and thus could land members of the public who wear them in jail.

 
This is a move that essentially bans the uniform of leading opposition leader Bobi Wine and his supporters. Bobi Wine, a pop star turned politician who has announced he is running for president against longtime leader Yoweri Museveni in 2021, has made the red beret his signature, calling it a “symbol of resistance”.

However, the beret, also worn by some soldiers, was included in Uganda’s first-ever gazette of all military clothing, which states that any member of the public found in possession of the items “is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life”, under section 160 of the 2005 UPDF Act, Aljazeera reported.

“The dress code for the UPDF (Uganda People’s Defence Force) 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,” army spokesman Richard Karemire said in a statement on Monday.

According to the gazette dated September 18, the sale or wearing of any attire which resembles the army uniform is also banned.

Prohibited items, besides the red beret, include side caps, bush hats, ceremonial forage caps and camouflaged baseball caps.

“It is prohibited to wear or use any decoration supplied or authorised for use by any member of the defence forces or any decoration so nearly resembling that decoration and likely to deceive the public,” the gazette said.

Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has not yet commented on the new rules.

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