Artistes have their eyes on political offices come 2021
Artistes are ignoring naysayers and joining politics, come 2021. Is it a Bobi Wine effect? The Kyadondo East MP (real name Robert Kyagulanyi) has gone further and declared his intention to run for president.
Most artistes are coming as independents but with support from the People Power movement led by Kyagulanyi. The 10th parliament has only three artistes; Kyagulanyi, Judith Babirye (Buikwe North) and Kato Lubwama (Lubaga South). Joseph Mayanja aka Jose Chameleone wants to be Kampala lord mayor on the Democratic Party ticket. YUDAYA NANGONZI talked to other artistes eyeing various positions.
Ronald Mayinja – Gomba East
“I have composed all the political songs but it seems I need to present my messages better while on the floor of parliament,” says Ronald Mayinja, 43.
He says the current political environment has inspired him to join the race having noticed that “there’s no amount of silence that can grant you freedom if you don’t be part of the struggle”.
In the defunct Eagles Production, the soft-speaking Mayinja released political songs such as Africa, Tuli Ku Bunkeke and Embeera Ya Sente. His 2018 political release Mzee Bizeemu has given him another platform on the political scene. Mayinja acknowledges that many think he is looking for money and cheap popularity.
“I need to talk to people door-to-door and re-emphasize my messages. Politics is not the best option but people are suffering while those in leadership think it’s a norm. We would be sharing the little we have but the poor are too poor and the rich are getting richer,” he says.
He adds that the incumbent Emmanuel Kalule Sengo has not done enough because the constituency continues to move at a slow pace. He cites health centres of Mpenja and Mamba that need urgent government attention to benefit the people of Gomba.
“I don’t have money to give each person but we need to talk to the next president to have industrial parks in Gomba because it’s not far from Kampala. The parks will create jobs for both the illiterate and literate,” says Mayinja who intends to stand as an independent candidate.
“When [Gomba gets] good people, we frustrate them. The late Mukwano [Amirali Karmali] stayed in Bukandula but he was frustrated and instead invested in Fort Portal; the late Philly Bongole Lutaaya even refused to be buried in Gomba and Bobi Wine told me he didn’t settle in Gomba but Magere for reasons known to him,” Mayinja says.
“The late Elly Wamala personally told me he didn’t like the area to the extent of adding a line in his song ‘Nze mundeke ab’egomba mweraba nja kugumira Kampala’. I need to revive Gomba and make people proud of it.”
He declined to share his campaign slogan.
“People are not original…they will pick it up. Politics is like playing cards. You need to pull out one at a time…but I will win the seat in 2021.”
Mayinja went to Mpenja primary school and Namirembe infant primary school. He joined St Peter’s Nsambya for S4 and S6 in 1994 and 1996, respectively. He joined National College of Business Studies (now MUBS) to pursue Business administration but dropped out after one and a half years.
He chose music until 2014 when he joined Kampala International University for a diploma in Human Resource management. The father-of-six has just completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree from Makerere University.
“I was not preparing for elections but I want to die a knowledgeable man. I have enough books and my people in Gomba should be prepared.”
Dennis Katongole ‘Omutongole’ – Bbaale
If you have watched him on stage or TV, then you know the lanky man who loves to wiggle his waist.
Katongole is an actor, MC and singer, and owns Mellow Vibes band. He has also worked with Bukedde TV, Radio Simba and Record TV. Currently, he works with Beat FM as the programmes controller and presenter as well as a music director at Delta TV, where he presents a late-night music show, Mega Doz.
“I tried to stand [in 2011] and went to NRM primaries. There was a lot of rigging and confusion and we wasted a lot of money. I got 13,000 votes and my opponent got 110,500,” Katongole says. He didn’t have NRM at heart but needed a stepping stone to parliament.
“If I had joined parliament 2011, I would be an NRM rebel MP by now.”
A young man then, elders in the constituency also found him not fit for the position. Now at 39, he feels there is nothing holding him back.
“Our area has so many problems and we have no voice. The incumbent [NRM’s George Wilson Nsamba Kumama] is an MP holding a title but I can authoritatively say he has not represented us well and people are tired of him. You will never hear him say a thing in parliament or advise on pressing issues in the country,” he says.
Asked whether he has ever interacted with Kumama on issues affecting Bbaale, Katongole says: “I don’t need to interact with him because I know his weaknesses. He is a very selfish man. Currently, around 17 people want his position. If he has been MP for the first time, what does that imply?” Katongole says many friends tipped him to stand against Lubaga North MP Moses Kasibante but he declined because “I am born and bred in Kayunga and want to be the messiah of Bbaale”.
Under the slogan Tukooye Enfuufu, Katongole, who will come as an independent, wants government to tarmac the Kayunga-Galiraya road. He also wants access to clean water and get solutions to land issues and security agencies tormenting fishermen on Lake Kyoga.
In 2016, the father-of-one (his son is 14 years) parted ways with his wife Tendo Tabel aka Lady Titie. He, however, intimated that he is in courtship for two years now with a businesswoman whose name he did not disclose.
In 1994, Katongole left Mengo PS for Kanjuki SS and Yale high school for his O and A-levels in 1998 and 2000, respectively. He holds a diploma in Journalism from Uganda Institute of Business and Media Studies in Wakaliga and graduated with a degree in Mass Communication from Kampala International University in 2011.
Hillary Innocent Kiyaga aka Dr Hilderman – Mawokota North
Born in Mbute, Kampiringisa village, Kamengo sub-county in Mpigi district, in 2010, Kiyaga was pivotal in preparing President Museveni’s former principal private secretary, Amelia Kyambadde, for the Mawokota North seat.
Kyambadde had agreed to resign on the job but was not well known to the constituents. Hilderman even tweaked the lyrics to his hit, Amelia, to shower love on the now Trade, Industry and Cooperatives minister.
“I never wanted Mawokota to miss a super cadre like her. I decided to brand her by composing the song for her to find a smooth ground,” says Kiyaga, now eyeing the same constituency in 2021.
“At some point, I do regret it because I overrated her. After these two terms, I can tell it to her face that I am very disappointed with her delivery. If she has performed like an ordinary person, then let the ordinary Hilderman take over in 2021.”
The Mazongoto singer’s fallout with Kyambadde escalated during the infamous age limit bill debate in 2017.
“In all the consultations, I moved with her and people openly rejected the bill. [But] when she stood on the floor, she said majority of the people had said yes. I felt bad because I respect her. I couldn’t believe she was telling lies and we had to go separate ways.”
Now he best describes their relationship as that between Museveni and his former prime minister, Amama Mbabazi.
“I can rate my chances of winning at 40 per cent, yet I am not in power and not funded by anybody. By May 2020, I will be at 55 per cent and by campaign time, I must take someone by a greater percentage,” says the 37-year-old father-of-five.
With his campaign slogan “Mawokota our home, Mawokota we waffe”, Kiyaga claims currently activities in the constituency have stalled and Kyambadde is treated as a “demi god”.
After his Omwana Agenda album in 2017, Kiyaga decided to give music a break because, “I don’t want to only excite fans, but also earn a living off my sweat”.
In 1996, he completed P7 at Kampiringisa primary school before joining St Kalemba SS in Nazigo for O-level (2000) and completed A-levels at Mityana SS in 2002. He joined Makerere University for a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts and graduated in 2005. He also holds a postgraduate diploma in Leadership and Management from Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya (2007).
“People think we don’t have qualifications from good universities but slowly, we shall change their mindset. So, let us who are underlooked join parliament and change the country for the better.”
Jennifer Nakanguubi aka Full Figure – Kampala Woman
She was known for her reggae-vibe songs such as Mukyakale. Now Full Figure is rebranding as an ‘independent’ to unseat FDC’s Kampala Woman MP Nabilah Naggayi Sempala.
She joined politics a year ago, regularly donning the signature People Power red beret. Nakanguubi says she can create employment opportunities for women and build small businesses for single mothers.
“Please don’t ask me how we shall get the money to do this, but just know that by that time, Uganda will be in better hands and will have enough resources to take care of the youths and women in Kampala,” Nakanguubi says.
“I am a businesswoman working in Kampala and I know each and every corner of the city and how people are challenged. The city needs people like me who have connections in other countries to pull back [resources] to our country.”
Nakanguubi was furious when it came to the incumbent.
“Nabilah has no businesses in the city and doesn’t know what we go through to work in the city amid heavy taxes, rent fees and thieves in broad daylight as security organs look on.” She adds that Kampala needs a hardworking woman who grew up on its streets like her.
The interview ends prematurely when I ask for her age and education background. “You’re asking so many questions. For my age and education, I won’t respond.”
Mathias Walukagga –Kyengera Town Council mayor
While fellow artistes have aspired for parliamentary seats, Walukagga has opted for mayor. Of late, he addresses himself as the “Mandela of Kyengera TC.”
On a poster he commonly uses on his social media platforms donning a People Power beret, he uses a slogan: One Term, Mandela Style. The kadongokamu singer wants to oust the incumbent, NRM’s Hajj Abdul Kiyimba as an independent using the People Power movement.
Since 2006, he has been releasing a number of political songs including Bwino w’Omutembeyi, Bwino w’Ekkomera, Ekiri e Mulago, Omwaka Gwa 2017, Bakoowu, Prison Break and Parliament. Walukagga, who hails from Masaka, is also quietly undertaking adult education so that he can stand for MP in the 2026 election, before going for the presidency.
Yasin Mukasa aka Lil Pazo – Kooki county
He is known for his Genda Ogule Emmotoka song and others such as Ebigezo, Mutujeeko Omusolo and Biva mu Ntuuyo.
Clad in a black fitting suit with his hair tinted half gold, Lil Pazo is smart for the interview.
“I am now in MP mood. I have to be smart, always.”
Lil Pazo wants to take over from NRM’s Boaz Ninsiima Kasirabo. When asked who the current Kooki MP is, he says: “Uhmmm… he is called… I even don’t know him because anyone who hasn’t done great things for people in his area, there’s no need to know them. Why should I know him? What I know is that he will leave and we work for our people in 2021.”
Mukasa says Bobi Wine inspired him to join politics. His love for the Kyadondo East legislator saw him name his son Lil Farid Mukasa Bobi Wine.
“If someone can pay Shs 10,000 to watch you on stage, how about sending you to parliament? Today, people need real representatives like me, not greedy politicians full of empty promises,” he says.
At 27, he plans to advocate better roads in Kooki, education, better eye treatment as well as support to youths and the elderly. With his slogan Aterya Ntama (uncompromising), Mukasa says he is ready to revive Kooki’s lost glory.
He went to Kayayumbe primary school in Kooki and completed P7 at Kabingo primary school. He joined Bethlehem SS for O and A-levels. Last year, he enrolled for adult education in Buziga.
Eddy Yawe – Kira Municipality
He has seen it all in politics, unlike other artistes. In 2011, Afrigo band’s Yawe stood for Kampala Central MP seat but lost to NRM’s Muhammad Nsereko. In 2016, he went to Kira Municipality but again lost miserably to Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda.
Yawe is now consolidating himself to upstage Ssemujju in 2021.
“When I stood for Kampala Central, I was staying in Kireka…maybe, I should have stood for Kyadondo East where my residence fell,” Yawe says. “On the second loss, technically, I came in late in the race and maybe there was a wave of FDC and the least known won on blue tickets.”
Before 2016, Kira municipality was part of Kyadondo East constituency. Yawe, who is Bobi Wine’s older brother, says he is coming back stronger on the DP ticket in Kira because many things that people want “still have question marks”. He wants to be a ‘projects MP’.
“I know persistence breaks resistance with time. People of Kira should not get tired of voting for me and this time, I know we shall jubilate,” Yawe, in his early 40s, says.
Yawe is perplexed with politicians who oppose Museveni’s 33-year leadership but also want no change in their constituencies.
“In the opposition, we spend six days a week fighting within ourselves and once a week against the ruling government. This is doing a lot of harm to our struggle and crippling [us]. The old don’t want to give way to new entrants while the new don’t respect the old yet the enemy is looking on steadily as we fight.”
Yawe went to seven primary schools but completed P7 at Kasaka primary school in Mpigi. He joined St Henry’s College Kitovu for S1 to S3 and completed S4 at Busubizi SS in Mityana. He completed A-level at Light College Katikamu.
He joined Makerere University for a diploma in Music, Dance and Drama and later studied for a degree in Mass Communication that came with a scholarship to study for a postgraduate diploma in broadcasting at Radio Netherlands Training Centre (RNTC).
He got another scholarship to study a Master’s degree in Sound and Production at US-based Morgan State University. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Canada and prefers to keep the details as a “surprise.”
Mary Flavia Namulindwa – Gomba East
The actor and presenter with Bukedde TV owns The Dance & Beats cultural troupe. Namulindwa, a People Power diehard, is coming for Gomba East constituency where musician Ronald Mayinja has also expressed interest.
During our brief interaction, she was cagey about her political ambitions.
“Yes, I am coming for Gomba East constituency but…I will discuss my plans when the right time comes. I can’t talk about anything, more so in the press,” Namulindwa said.
Born 30 years ago, Namulindwa went to St John Bosco Katende primary school, Kanoni COU, Kasaka SS in Gomba and St Mary’s SS Nkozi. After S4, she joined Kabulasoke PTC. She has taught at St Bernadette primary school in Nkozi, Archbishop Kiwanuka Memorial primary school in Nakirebe, Mpigi and at the defunct Lubiri Nnabagereka primary school, teaching English to upper primary pupils.
She holds a diploma in Journalism from the Buganda Royal Institute.
Patrick Mujuuka aka Patriko – Nakifuma
He is a veteran actor, comedian, CBS radio presenter and MC. To this profile, Mujuuka wants to add politics, starting 2021. He is starting by challenging the current Nakifuma MP, Eng Kafeero Ssekitooleko, for the seat come 2021.
While he was born in Mbuya, his parents Thomas Mujuuka and Lovis Nabiyonga hail from Nakifuma in Mukono. In a recent interview with The Observer, he said Ssekitooleko has failed to address Nakifuma’s problems for the last 10 years.
“It is time for young and energetic brains to come in. The youth need to be assisted and we need people with networks in the constituency,” Mujuuka, who is coming as an independent, was quoted as saying. “I will be for the people; that is, People Power.”
He studied at Kiswa primary school in Bugolobi and Kyambogo College School for O and A-levels. He joined Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo (UPIK) now Kyambogo University, and holds a diploma in Music, Dance and Drama from Makerere University. He also holds a degree in Public Administration and Management from Nkumba University.
Geoffrey Lutaaya – Kakuuto County
When Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) released 2018 O-level results early this year, musician Geoffrey Lutaaya’s social media was awash with his results. He became the laughing stock for scoring aggregate 62 from Makerere Day and Evening School for Adults (MAECA).
De Nu Eagles boss remained unmoved and congratulated himself for this success. Lutaaya may not have met his critics’ expectations, but he was on the right path to position himself better for Kakuuto county constituents.
“People will say all sorts of things but they don’t know your plans. You better do your things as they laugh and you win at the end,” Lutaaya says.
He has always had plans to join politics, but his area had better representatives then, unlike today, he says. Kakuuto’s current MP is Christopher Kalemba. Lutaaya will contest in 2021 as an independent on the People Power agenda.
“My slogan is Together We Can, Obumu Ge Maanyi,” Lutaaya says. “I have many friends on the ground and hope to get a landslide victory. Whatever I fail to table on the floor, it will be put into music.”
Lutaaya went to Mitti Ebiri primary school in Kyotera and completed P7 at Mbuye primary school in Rakai. He joined Kololo High School until S4 but did not sit final examinations after music took over. With his S4 from MAECA, a few months ago, Lutaaya completed an equivalent of A-level from an insitution he declined to name.
“I don’t want the media to disturb those people like they did to MAECA. More details will come when the Electoral Commission asks for my academic qualifications,” he said.