The gradual entry of Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine into Uganda’s politics beginning with his social conscious music that positioned him differently from his peers and also opened doors for his political career came with substantial collateral damage too.
While Robert Kyagulanyi seemed to know what exactly he was doing from the start and therefore did some basic preparation in picking up on some political jargon and a few articles in the constitution especially on rule of law, public order management and human rights, many of his excited peers just bumped into the game.
Having been commiserating regularly with Dr. Kizza Besigye especially after the drama that came with the 2016 election plus the treason charges, house arrest and all, Kyagulanyi was already preparing himself for this journey into politics.
The by election that took him to parliament having trounced a man his ‘political father’ Dr. Besigye was supporting changed many things.
First it came with so many endorsements from all sorts of Showbiz personalities radio, TV, drama, fellow musicians, name it, they all endorsed Bobi Wine.
This victory created a sense of empowerment and entitlement among Kyagulanyi’s fellow musicians and showbiz personalities with many of them opting to seek political office riding on the Kyagulanyi wave.
However, many of the sentiments on going at the time died out before election season even arrived as many of the opportunists in this lot realised you need to invest substantially in terms of time and resources before you can enter any political office, a cost and risk they didn’t have the nerve to incur.
Many of them also came out more boldly to speak about issues political too as a result and key among these was Moses Sali alias Bebe Cool, Full Figure, Catherine Kusasira to mention but a few.
However a lot of what they have said and continue to say has not gone without controversy and real embarrassment sometimes.
When it comes to issues of law, public policy, economics, human rights, civil engagement among others, this group fell flat and continues to most of the time. Their presence on respected political talk shows is also diminishing gradually as the show owners realise they don’t add much value.
As a result many of them have switched back to gossip and entertainment shows where the questions are much lighter and more showbiz with just a few easy to grind political asks here and there.
The blunders this group made on national airwaves trended and continue to do so encourages social media creatives to have a field day making all sorts of skits out of them.
Where are the Elites?
The “invasion” of celebrities seems to have turned off many well educated and groomed Ugandan citizens from politics even more never mind the fact that they very well know it’s in politics where policies that make or break nations are entrenched.
For the elite already in the political game, this is a good thing because many of the half baked fellows trying to get a piece of the pie are easy to manipulate and finish off politically so it helps entrench the position of the few elite in there.
For the country though, it is disaster in the making as all sorts of negative and foreign interests can easily push past this semi exposed group and prevail to the detriment of the country’s progress that is if they get into decision making positions by any chance.
Many of the elites in our society still hide in their jobs, their small projects, academic pursuits etc instead of coming out boldly and seeking political office given their vast knowledge and intellectual prowess which could add real value to the nation.
What they forget however is as the political game gets dirtier and we have more ill exposed fellows sneaking their way into office, the policies will continuously become more ridiculous until the small jobs, projects, businesses, academia etc, the elite hide in can’t operate viably any more.
For the rest of us law abiding politically conscious citizens, the lesson should be clear being a celebrity does not necessarily equate to being a great leader and politician.
No amount of hit songs, successful movie and stage acting roles or being a big radio and TV personality can turn one into an instant great politician or leader, it takes real effort.
Like is the case for Kyagulanyi and a few who successfully crossed over, there is real work to be done in building credibility on the political side too that can’t be skipped.
And the masses even the least knowledgeable of us should never be blinded to believe the two, that is being a celebrity and a good politician or leader are one and the same even when choosing our leaders in the forth coming general election.
The author is a senior analyst with Data, Polling and Consulting Firm Brothers Intelligence LLC