How celebrity, pop culture are influencing Ugandan politics

What you need to know:

Constricted politics. My personal take is that Bobi Wine is the result of a constricted political situation obtaining in the polity

During the 2006 elections, KADS Band, a Kampala-based music group, released an album promoting Mr Museveni’s re-election. In addition to releasing their Kisanja album, they also performed at Mr Museveni’s campaign rallies.
Ten years later, a group of local musicians released a song titled Tubonga Nawe. This was a praise song aimed at rallying Ugandans to re-elect Mr Museveni to another (one millionth?) term of office in 2016.
In the olden days, we were used to artistes as social critiques (claiming to be on the side of the people challenging those holding power). However, there is a contemporary trend of artistes taking a proactive role in public affairs.
I have been told that every many a parliamentary candidates commissioned musicians to compose a praise song in support of his or her campaign.
Yet an artiste whose sole motive is financial gain is no artiste. Even for some us who masquerade as writers, one is at his or her best when he or she is driven by something higher than one’s self-interest or pecuniary gain. Does this conflict musicians or artistes?
For they want money to drive their celebrity status that comes with pop culture. It really does, but there will always be a few like Bobi Wine, who seeks inspiration from something bigger than the figure on the pay check.

Mr Chance Kahindo was, nay, he still is, a musician and radio presenter. In 2011, he was elected as the chairperson for Kisiinga Sub-county (in which Kiburara city lies). As I write this, he is serving his second term of office.
Yet those who know Kasese politics will tell you that Kisiinga Sub-county boasts of the highest sense of elitist attitude and disposition. With this attitude, wouldn’t one expect a retired civil servant to head the sub-county?
But Bobi Wine needs to be put under analytical scrutiny. I am not the one to get excited by a messianic personality, but scholarship should really interrogate the circumstances that birthed Bobi Wine into a political idea (or The Bobi Wine Phenomenon).
Was it popular appreciation of his music? Was it his personality? Or his celebrity status? My personal take is that Bobi Wine is the result of a constricted political situation obtaining in the polity.
The strictures in the political environment have bred a situation where leadership is being sought outside the orthodox areas of political upbringing.
This is the same environment that gave us Hajj Nasser Ntege Sebaggala. And oh yes, it is the same environment that gave us Mr Youweri Museveni in 1980.
Initially, the heroism of these celebrity and media-attraction icons like Hajj Ssebagala were restricted to their local regions (like Mr Chance Kahindo, my celebrity Sub-county chairperson). But Bobi Wine seems to be different; he is now national.
Bobi Wine may be viewed as riding on the crest of his national celebrity wave (and his eloquence in ideas delivery to engage politicians in their ‘where-only-the-devils-dare’. But he is turning national pop culture, at the centre of which is music and entertainment, into a political vanguard to rally the population for political change.
His crowd-pulling star character and eloquent deliveries on social political issues has galvanised him into the sphere of orthodox politics. Where this ends, I don’t know. But I can only say that we already have precedents in Liberia’s George Weah and Madagascar’s disc jockey president.
Associated Press asked what I made of the Bobi Wine phenomenon. I told them everything depended on how he responds to the torture he had undergone. He could retreat or soldier on; for Bobi’s is no George Weah scenario. Neither is it Madagascar’s DJ case.