How will politicians campaign without holding public rallies?

Friday August 28 2020

The term ‘scientific’ to denote de-crowding was coined by Mr Museveni. It has now been adopted in Uganda’s common parlance. We started with ‘scientific weddings,’ and we are now staring in the face of ‘scientific elections’. For non-Ugandans, a ‘scientific wedding’ is the kind where only 10 people witness the bride and groom taking the vows (and later the reception). And a ‘scientific election’ is where politicians would not hold election campaign rallies (as is always their wont).
Now, the hottest news in Kampala is that I, Asuman, son of Hadijah, joined the NRM two weeks ago. And me being me, I have assigned myself the task of making sure NRM returns four MPs, the district chairperson and at least 60 per cent of sub-county chairpersons in Kasese.
Dear reader, those who know Kasese, I need prayers to achieve my objectives. That is why I am interested in how scientific election campaigns will be conducted.
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Mr Obed Kambasu is a PhD student (are these people called students too?) in Germany. He is one of the admins of Rwenzururu Discussion Board group on Facebook.
On hearing that Uganda would hold scientific elections, he seemed to harbour a very PhDish idea about the word scientific. He almost killed me with laughter when he suggested something like Cambridge Analytica (remember the thing?) for Uganda’s ‘scientific elections’.
I just told him: Now I know why people with PhD are thought to have a certain kind of madness caused by ‘having many knowledges’ (as my semi-illiterate father used to say). Next time I speak to Obed Kambasu, I will advise him to advise his people to concentrate on commissioning campaign songs and book the relatively cheap airtime on local radio stations. There cannot be any scientific elections in an unscientific setting; thing is our people lack the social sophistication that feed into the Cambridge Analytica’s metadata frames and models for socio-economic appraisal.
The good thing is that the big three radio stations in Kasese are owned by faith groups namely Catholics, Protestants and Adventists. Most parliamentary candidates cannot afford paid-up adverts on legacy media platforms like TV, radio and newspapers. Yet social media doesn’t seem to offer much in communities that are unscientific.
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Last time I was in Kasese, I engaged two candidates - one on a WhatsApp group and the other in a face-to-face chat. I told both to moderate their promises to the population (during the campaign for NRM primaries). My assessment is the one I engaged on WhatsApp (the candidate I am likely to vote for by the way) lacks EI (Emotional Intelligence); he gets upset easily. The one I engaged in a face-to-face chat was calm and collected (even when I ‘disrespectfully’ asked him pointed questions in the presence of his supporters). Please note: The two candidates are vying for different offices. The folly of scientific elections…
At campaign rallies, the candidate has an almost choreographed crowd control and management. Social media does not give the emotional element a crowd does. A wildcard group member like me could put one’s candidature into jeopardy by asking questions with candour (which is what I really did to the candidate on a WhatsApp group). I have even learnt he was advised to stay clear of me…
In 2016, most candidates had commissioned songs. However, none of the songs was an attack on opponents. Unfortunately, we already have a song attacking the candidature of Dr Crispus Kiyonga. The song’s title is Kabudunga (Disruptive Element). Although the said song was not commissioned, it works in favour of Dr Crispus Kiyonga’s opponent. The composer (who is also the singer) faces criminal charges.

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