Bring on the political campaigns

Neighbors kids in my village

Unlike the current political campaigns in America that seem a little ruthless, Uganda’s political campaigns are the opposite. Although slightly exhausting for those involved, (lots of drinking, dancing to loud music till dawn, and plenty of squabbles) it is nothing as draining as the campaigns I am witnessing here; campaigns that seem so personal they forcefully draw audiences emotionally in whether they signed up for it or not (at least in my case). Unfortunately, the majority in Uganda don’t care much about policies (well except those living in the city and the big towns) rather, they care about peace and stability, and who can blame them for the simple things in life after the instabilities they experienced in Idi Amin’s regime of 1970’s? In my town of Kaabong, political candidates such as Members of Parliament, District Speakers, or Local Councils; bribe populations with alcohol either premium or homemade (yes, really). They also “gift” people with Masaai shukas (shawls), pastoral sandals (made out of tires) loved by the Masaai, the Turkana, and the Karamojong tribes of East Africa. Candidates bribe for votes with anything at all: tobacco, salt, sauce-pans, industrial plastic drums, monies, you name it. So when I called my dear mum yesterday at precisely 06:00AM, I noticed a bit of urgency in her voice. Thinking that I had probably woken her up early, I quickly apologized, but she soon dismissed my apology and told me that she had to quickly go and organize her women’s group in preparation for their candidate who was visiting later in the day. Now, Komol Emmanuel is not your formal candidate; he is a “home-boy” and a good friend of my family with whom we grew up. He is taking a short at politics because he argues why not! So my poor mum is working hard mobilizing her friends to help him get elected as Member of Parliament for Kaabong District. Coincidentally, our next-door neighbor Meri Jino is also campaigning to become Chairman Local Council V., the highest rank of LC’s in the district level and also needs my mum’s support. Both Komol and Meri don’t seek her support because she is some sort of genius political pundit, rather, they need her to endorse them simply because she is elderly and respected in her village; a major factor a candidate requires if he or she is to have a short at winning. The support of village elders goes a long way, so she is happily and tirelessly working for her “boys” as she affectionately calls them — and of course there went my phone call ladies and gentlemen!

Published by Msdedeng

At 41, I am still figuring out life: my place in society, my career path, a family of my own, any many others things. Heck, I am still trying to make friends in California; a place I moved to 3 years ago. I am currently in a Community College to make up for the many years I missed school while in Africa (Uganda). I intend to transfer to university next year and double major in History and English. I lead a very ordinary life; a normal day is spent doing school assignments, hiking, or reading. My favorite thing to do is walk! Short walks or long walks it does not matter. Walking allows me to think about things - anything! My love of walking comes from where I grew up, a small village in northeastern Uganda. It is still one of the most remotest areas I will ever know, and couldn't even start comparing what life is like there to say a place like California. Walking was all I did while growing up! I walked for miles to school, to church, to the shops, to the borehole to fetch water, and to the market. It was quite an adventure unlike any other - so you now understand my love for walking.

83 thoughts on “Bring on the political campaigns

  1. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🇺🇬✌️ well said!!!! Times like make me wish I was home to just be part of the fun!
    My best wishes for Komol and Jino!!!!!!🇦🇺

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Angela, Very interesting article about campaigns in Uganda! Please don’t judge US politics by this election or the previous one. This is unlike anything I have experienced in my lifetime, and I find it beyond distressing! I always felt that the political party wasn’t too important as long as the candidate was an ethical person. Politicians of both parties worked together on a friendly basis. I hope we return to something similar to that. 🙂 All the best! Cheryl

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you Cheryl, and I am sorry that you needed to apologize for the current state of politics in the US., I think I understand that this is unlike anything experienced in recent history. You appropriately use the word distress, really sums it.
    I just wanted to give a preview of what goes into Uganda’s campaigns, and it is far from perfect, but nothing as close as the one we are witnessing now.
    More than anything, I hope you are well 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  4. How lovely to hear more about your lifestyle, politics and elections!

    Glad they need a wise and popular elders recommendation … something our politicians would not seek or receive! And good for your Mum to be so involved, sounds like you have a lot in common 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. yes I am so relieved that I don’t live there … it all seems rather like a nightmare!

        Here I am usually a polling official so we are not allowed to get involved, suits me fine 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Every country has a different custom. One thing is wondering everywhere that people can be bought and bribed. Who the person is and what program they have is not important. It’s a pity people don’t think.
    best regards

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Nice insight on how Ugandans select their leaders. Especially as most information the outside world gets relates to the “national” results, that is, what the cities and such decide. Fascinating to read of what happens at the local level.

    I would observe that we in the US (everywhere, really) have our own bribes. Namely, candidates who promise spending and other largesse, but only if you support me. This profoundly human behavior is typical of anyone seeking votes. Easy enough to dismiss “those politicians,” but they only do so because they chase our votes. Really, then, who’s at fault here, the person offering the bribe, or the one who accepts it?

    Yes, much angst in the US, but it’s been that way as long as I can remember. In my own youth, at the end of the Cold War, and long before I was old enough to vote, charges and counter-charges flew back-and-forth regarding nuclear war and Communism. Every four years, Everything-Absolutely-Everything depends on what happens in the election. It all comes down to this moment. What you do in November will determine not just what kind of future we’ll have, but if we’ll have one at all.

    Whatever happens in a couple months, you can be sure of one thing – 2024 will be the most important election ever. Then 2028…then 2032…then…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is very true Keith, I think bribes come in many forms like you have mentioned here; ours (mine) is only obvious because it is direct, not hidden in some way.
      My concern about this coming election is how obvious things seem and yet some Americans, almost half of Americans don’t see the obvious — that’s what’s worrisome to me.
      Thank you for your insight!!


  7. Wow… Uganda is way more my speed!! I am all about peace like that!!

    Americans are ruthless with everything cause there is so much injustice here – in my opinion anyway.

    Here is all about greed and what your country can do for you… not like what it used to be – what can you do for your country – people have forgotten that.

    Sad to see. Uganda sounds beautiful and looks beautiful… look at the smiles on those kids faces!! They look so happy and at peace!!

    I also think elders have a lot to offer if people listen … that is not the way here.

    And American politics is the most corrupt and ruthless of all! Whew!! Is this your first one? I’m sorry lol

    It is a lot to take in!! And then it gets really confusing with so much bashing, instead of speaking of actual issues

    And it just so happens it involves Trump which makes it even more ruthless 🤨

    Ugh 😩 I’m moving to Uganda!!! It looks warm and happy – are there any dangers or bad things there?

    We forgot how to care for people here? I really don’t know when that happened 😔

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh Msdedeng, what a lovely reaffirming post. Sounds like genuine Grassroots politics at it’s best. Your mother is a good example to us all.
    I particularly love the little kiddies pic, they warm my heart. Thank you ❤️💁🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for those very kind words my friend. Yes she loves me very much. The love of a mother to her child is an incredibly strong one and hard to comprehend until you have children of your own. 💕❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This was quite insightful into the political campaigns of Uganda. Reminded me of one in India with me rooting for my own aunt when she stood up for the municipal corporation’s chairperson in a small hamlet in the hills. Going door to door drinking tea, interacting with even the lambs and cows that people owned, gifting them satchels or money or a goat, making promises of proper roads. It was really fun overall.
    Yes, She won!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh god! It must have been a huge blow to your mother to see both her “boys” lose. I still remember, my aunt lost the next election by a slight margin and what mayhem it was and the hullabaloo, and questions which included the votes having been bought by the opposition. Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are not wrong to think that at all, it is what we are seeing across the globe now, even those countries that have always claimed to be the “guardians” of democracy.


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