This is in response to Moses Byaruhanga’s “Museveni will win come 2021’ in New Vision of March 19. If this were to be, candidate Museveni must shuffle his political advisors with those that match the present political dynamics—starkly differ from previous ones.
The author simply bases his postulations on three major factors—past posts of Museveni vs opposition, (approx. 6m:4m votes), NRM domination of LC1 executive councils and the physical infrastructure development program. He concedes that while this goes on, voices of alternative policies are hardly heard, apart from the ‘Museveni agenda’ (Luganda for Museveni is exiting) agenda.
Now that is where Mr Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) comes in as a unique challenger to the NRM ‘single voice’ domination. I have argued elsewhere that he is unstoppable. In fact, all progressive opposition forces (POFs) have to do is: breath in deep, swallow the pride, queue behind him so that they celebrate together on D-day.
Voters are not patent-able; to shift their support from one side to another is a matter of a ‘sound’ entering their ears. That is why, for the opposition which garnered nearly 4-million votes last time without the ability of reaching voices into citizens’ ears in all the 70,000 villages of the country as highlighted by Byaruhanga, this time, as it has already proved, their message has the opportunity to reverberate beyond those villages and make sense even beyond the territorial boundaries of Uganda. This will potentially catapult them to claim the deficit of votes suffered last time. In this perspective, Bobi is already ahead of the NRM candidate. Despite being officially disabled from holding concerts, his preliminary political messages are heard inside homesteads every hour, day and night the country-over and this so because they are conveyed through a music that makes sense to the listeners—including village council executives—previously fed on a single political menu.
Never Underestimate Music
There gifts but there is the natural gift of melody. It has the unique power of inflicting instant impact on contact even to the core hardened inanimate, such as hills. World over, politicians are reaching out for the colossally hired ‘assistance’ of pop stars to endorse them. Assistance because, like it happened with ‘Tubonganawe’ in Uganda last time, some stars may decline the politician offers.
King David of the holy Bible simply sang for the mountains and birds to listen to him. The holy Quran of Muslims is a unique book: It is the only record, whose 77,934 words are committable to human memory letter by letter, verse by verse and cover to cover. This is only possible by doing it musically.
I was in political races of 2016 and 2011. To easily attract voters towards your rally you had to play ‘good’ music, one of which by artiste Bobi Wine.
In Sudan, people hardly understand Luganda. However, on their parties, they play, dance and mimic some Luganda music. Their best hit is “sitya loss,’ by Eddie Kenzo. Once the event manager announced my presence in the audience as a Ugandan, which earned me instant celebrity status. I wondered the esteem they would extend artiste, Kenzo.
The Real Silent Forces Behind Uganda’s Political Direction
It is hence clear to realistic political analysts that dwelling on previous voter numbers is not enough to write-off Bobi Wine. In fact, as am aware, the immediate focus of POFs is not on statistics. It is on practical ways of constructive engagements with those silent but critical forces that ultimately determine the political direction of this country. These have previously been neglected by the opposition, which is changing now. They include the military (special forces command), police, intelligence community, electoral commission, diplomatic missions, civil servants as well as religious and traditional institutions. The opposition needs to candidly share thoughts of these key stakeholders on the real Uganda; its challenges, perspectives of responding to these challenges and what the ideal Uganda in their view should be like. With their contribution, these forces will for once consider a truly neutral role in 2021 for a freer and impartial election that favors every potential candidate.
By Swaib K Nsereko
PhD Candidate in Communication Science, University of Gezira, Sudan/Asst Lecturer, Islamic University in Uganda
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