Uganda’s youth propel ex-drug addict to parliament

A campaign post for the new Ugandan MP for Kyadondo East Constituency - Kyagulanyi Sentamu Robert
A campaign poster for the new Ugandan MP for Kyadondo East Constituency – Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert

After all 33,310 votes cast had been counted, Bobi Wine had amassed 25,659 votes with Sebalu, the NRM candidate coming down a distant second with just 4,566 votes. The former holder of the constituency, Kantinti, managed a face-saving 1,832 votes and also-rans like Nkunyingi Muwada and Sowedi Kayongo Male ended with a paltry 575 and 377 votes each respectively. Democratic Party candidate Lilian Babirye Kawoome had pulled out of the contest in support of the FDC candidate. There were 32,999 valid votes, 311 of which were judged as being invalid and 41 were declared spoiled. As is obvious, adding together all the votes of his opponents, including the invalid and spoiled ones, could not have made any difference to Bobi Wine’s landslide victory.

Seen now by many Ugandans as yet another despot in the country’s history that includes Idi Amin and Milton Obote, it’s now clear that the need for change in Uganda is more than likely to be led by the country’s youth who have often shown their willingness to face armed soldiers and an equally armed police system that often show the country’s security forces as siding with the regime. Unlike during other elections in Uganda, the youth this time stood their ground as heavily armed troops were deployed on the streets in the Kyadondo East constituency. The youth never let the  boxes holding their votes leave their eyesight. They demanded that the votes be counted on the scene, unlike in the presidential elections last year when the votes were taken to a counting centre from where the results ended into favouring the incumbent with many voters clearly upset that their vote had once again been stolen. They made sure this could not be repeated this time.

Bobi Wine’s victory has emboldened the Ugandan electorate to start believing that perhaps people’s power could reign against military might. It is not altogether uncommon that armed force is used to oppress and suppress opposition candidates where bribery has failed. And the case of Bobi Wine is no exception. His victory speech centred on reconciliation among all political and national leaders for a peaceful country. He also said politics, like music, should be used to unify the country. A rookie in elective politics, Bobi Wine is a wealthy and popular musician whose roots are very poor indeed. At one point before his music career budded, he lived in a slum where he made building bricks and peddled for a living and at one time belonged to gangs of marijuana-smoking youths in city suburbs. With his election victory, he joins Judith Babirye, another musician who joined politics and is now a parliamentarian in the country’s 10th parliament. The FDC and DP, among other political operators, congratulated him over his win and assured him of their support. However, the NRM, suffering a routing defeat despite a heavy government deployment and bribery, did not offer him any congratulations.

One thought on “Uganda’s youth propel ex-drug addict to parliament

  • July 4, 2017 at 4:20 am

    Dear Ugandans,
    These results send very clear important message. That rigging can be defeated. Infact
    rigging may not have been a big factor causing losing of many of our opposition candidates.
    If this guy who smokes can beat rigging, why could not others beat it?
    For the coming elections, we in opposition must be ready to win. This saying elections are
    ready rigged even before voting must stop.
    When people and youth like you in your area, you will get votes. These by-elections have taught us this. People talk of money, soap etc being determinants of results of elections! is it true?
    So whether age limit is removed or not, our power are our votes. People abroad who write not
    true stories about their country, must come and we use our vote power
    Big Magosi


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