Uganda- fear of the ghetto president packaged as demand for credentials

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There was a political pandemic long before COVID-19 which had paralyzed many seasoned politicians. It’s the wave of anti-establishment politics that first unearthed Robert Kyagulanyi in 2017 to record a landslide victory over established party candidates Sitenda Sebalu of NRM and Apollo Kantinti of FDC to win the Kyadondo East by-election Parliamentary seat.

To understand the appeal of Bobi Wine the phenomenon, one has to first digest the mindset of his voters. They sought a candidate who wouldn’t conform to traditional politics but was pushing big and aspirational ideas. Hon. Kyagulanyi is the manifestation of an outsider who through his music appealed to the raw emotions and dissatisfaction of Ugandans.

The people demanding Kyagulanyi’s credentials don’t genuinely need them. They already know that he’s a Member of Parliament, a graduate of Makerere University, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, Law student at Cavendish University, successful artist and businessman who created opportunities, jobs and a voice for the marginalized and ignored urban poor.

The detractors are simply singing the chorus that he doesn’t fit in, is an outsider not wearing a politician’s uniform and therefore unworthy of the top office of the land. However, they are oblivious to the populism born out of frustration and fail to understand the current reality that Ugandans are tired of broken promises from establishment politicians.

NRM leadership has many experienced and highly educated individuals with doctorates among other accolades. However, their credentials for the last 34 years have been used to fleece Ugandan taxpayers. The wealth of a hard working populace has been ripped from their lands, farms and businesses only to get redistributed amongst the political class.

The rebellion of the masses was inevitable as the haves grew smaller and more powerful while the oppressed grew larger and voiceless. In order to fight back, the wananchi are lining up behind one of their own Hon. Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi, the anti-establishment candidate and antidote to the NRM machinery of oppression.

Kyagulanyi’s top credential is being a non-politician which is a symptom of Ugandans having a crisis of confidence in political parties, government institutions and the political class. This distrust is not unique to Uganda and has recently given rise to political newcomers such as Donald Trump in the United States among others across the globe.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the devastating economic disparities between the political class and the rest of the Ugandan people. This period of severe economic hardship and social unrest has historically contributed to the rising popularity of political outsiders which makes Kyagulanyi the right candidate at the right time to take on the incumbent Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Questioning his credentials only highlights his strength and adds a seal of approval for Ugandans who seek transformative change.

Dr. Daniel Kawuma Washington DC. (U.S)

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