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. View more posts