Artists turning legislators bring color to Ugandan politics

Inspired by presidential runner up candidate Bobi Wine, more than 200 artists have joined politics in Uganda since January

Godfrey Olukya   | 03.10.2021
Artists turning legislators bring color to Ugandan politics [File Photo] - Bobi Wine


Encouraged at the electoral performance of Uganda’s top musician Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, in presidential polls in January, more than 200 musicians, actors, radio jockeys and dancers have since then joined politics in the landlocked East African country.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, political analyst Aron Musazi said that many artists are walking in the footsteps of Wine to try their luck in politics.

According to final results announced by Uganda’s Electoral Commission, President Museveni got 58.64% votes. Wine gave a tough time to the president by unexpectedly securing 34.83% of the polled votes.

He also became the first opposition politician securing such a large number of votes in Uganda’s electoral history.

Veteran politician and former member of parliament Felix Onzi said Wine’s performance has inspired a large number of musicians and artists to join politics.

‘’Altogether more than 200 musicians and other artists, who had joined Wine’s party NUP (National Unity Platform) were fielded to contest elections for various positions. A good number of them won and are now political leaders in the country,” he said.

Out of 235 artists who contested the elections at various levels, nine were elected to the parliament, 40 to the district council, and 70 to the local council.

Among the most popular musicians who are now lawmakers are Hilary Kiyaga, popularly known as Hildaman, Da New eagles jazz bandleader Geofrey Lutaya, Afrigo Band singer Rachael Magola, Kiyemba Solo, Kato Lubwama, Moshi Sendi, and Edith Babirye.

Others like Jose Chameloen and Raga Dee also contested, but were not elected.

“Musicians have brought new life in Uganda’s politics. Apart from them being young and active, they also have new ideas,” said Jerome Lukwago, a 35-year-old medical officer.

The ruling party had also fielded a few musicians, who won elections.

- Musicians seek to bring change

Another reason why young musicians have joined politics is that they felt that most of the leaders in political positions had outlived their usefulness.

‘’Since 1986 Museveni and most of his ministers and other politicians have been leading this country. Some of us felt the need to oust them out of power. That is why we stood for various positions," said Edmond Otto, a musician based in northern and currently a councilor in Oyam district.

Others say that since musicians struggle to earn money, they found politics a safe ground to earn a living.

’’Musicians in Uganda struggle to earn money yet members of parliament, who set their salaries receive 35 million Ugandan shillings ($8,000) a month. Big salaries and allowances for MPs and other politicians have enticed many of us to join politics,” said Jack Obadi.

Musician-turned-politician Abubakar Kasaddah, 25, said his singing profession was not paying him much after graduating from the university.

“I got an opportunity to join politics and I stood for the post of district councilor in Buyende district and won polls,’’ he said.

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