COVID-19 rules weren’t broken, we were set up, Tems recounts arrest in Uganda


Grammy-winning singer, Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, has recounted her ordeal in Ugandan prison.

The 27-year-old was arrested alongside colleague Omah Lay following their performance at The Big Brunch, which was held at Speke Resort, Wavamunno Rd, Kampala, Uganda on December 12, 2020, despite COVID-19 social distancing regulations. They were arrested the next day.

However, speaking in a recent interview with Angie Martinez of Power 105.1 FM, New York, Tems insisted that they didn’t break COVID-19 rules, claiming that “it was a setup.”

The ‘Essence’ star said she thought she wasn’t going to come out of jail and was “already settling in” as she emphasized that she adapts very quickly.

Tems said, “We didn’t break the [COVID-19] rules. It was basically like a set-up. We went to Uganda, I had a show there. It was during COVID year but they had opened things up that time. They had just had a rally in Uganda. People were going out. It wasn’t on lockdown. It was the aftermath.

“And the organisers said they had the permit, they sent us the permit. Everything was cool. And went there and there was this particular artist, I’m not sure now what his role was but he was just busy threatening Nigerian artists that they shouldn’t come. And after the show, the police came. They weren’t in uniforms. They just knocked on my hotel room. My manager and I were eating lunch or dinner. And they just came and said we should follow them and my manager was like he would go with them.

Tems wins first Grammy as Burna Boy loses

Tems threatens Ugandan singer Bebe Cool over arrest

“So, he went with them. But they came back upstairs to pick me up. So, it was like who called them? Later, I found out that there was some weird… That was so scary. I spent two nights in prison. I thought I wasn’t gonna come out. I thought maybe I was going through it for a reason. I was like maybe this is for me to help the people in prison. It was crazy, I ain’t gonna lie. I was settling in because I adapt real quick.”