Music has remained an integral part of Ugandan politics time immemorial, the two move hand in hand, one enforcing the other.
Since 1900, music has played quite a significant role as far as Ugandan political matters are concerned.
Following the signing of the Buganda 1900 agreement, endagano yo lwenda became a significant hit, it would soon become the banging song from Buganda to the surrounding areas, in the days where the jukebox was the in thing, indeed, endagano yo lwenda enjoyed enough airplay.
But since a jukebox was an item of luxury, artists had to move around trading centers to launch their music directly, drumming or playing their guitars, and the collections they would obtain there would sustain them.
Nonetheless, the message remained imprinted in the minds of the revelers, who would dress up for the day, bathe their best soap for the first time, and throw on flip flops to catch a glimpse of the then celebrities, with some village belles expecting to retire home with the guitarist.
Did you know for instance that one of Amin’s wives was a dancer brought to entertain the president at a function in State House? anha, music was that significant to politics.
The times from Independence brought forth the mighty beats from Buganda, where an artiste would simply roll out words on one specific beat that never changed, the quicker minds would later call it Kadongokamu.
From praising the Kabaka to singing about the beauty of Uganda, praising political parties, to the music of boycott and the likes, not forgetting the composition of anthems.
Simon Kaate Nsubuga (RIP) for instance composed a song in complete praise of Milton Obote and the UPC, the song dubbed Yeyeka Obote yaffe would become the ruling party ‘anthem”
Nsubuga was the man to roll Obote’s regime into very well composed lyrics, he was soon at it, releasing another hit dubbed Dr. Wangala; it went like: leeka akulembere egwanga, President Obote waffe, era wangala”
In the song, Nsubuga was telling Obote not to get intimidated, or threatened, he is the only chosen man to lead Uganda.
Nsubuga was a big artist with many songs to his name beside those praising Obote, songs like Club ya bawulu, Joyce Nina Ekyama, Agnes Nkukute, and Baleke Baseke olwempale yange among others.
Nsubuga is said to have been rewarded by Obote with a good role in UPC as one of the spies but would later be arrested by Idi Amin and consequently murdered in 1971. Another version claims he was murdered in Wampewo, Wakiso.
Another artiste that was in the same trade with Nsubuga is Juma Odundo with a song dubbed: “Obote adongme Uganda, Africa Ducu Oyee”. Odundo still lives, he did not have so many hits to his name though, like his colleague Nsubuga.
As much as the likes of Nsubuga and Odundo rose in the musical ranks for singing praise to the government, there were many artistes who rose from the contending sides in the opposition, just like it is the case today.
However, it would be until the end of Obote that most of them would get some hearing. Such are the likes of Moses Matovu of the current Afrigo band and a one Christopher Ssebaduka.
The interesting version of such songs is that as much as they were for the opposition, they would be in praise of another leader. In the case of the two songs; Matovu sang: twawona Kiviri (Obote) and Ssebaduka’s “Ani Yali Amanyi”, all these were in praise of Amin and castigating Obote.
Ssebaduka is the man behind songs like Mali Yanyoko, another song in praise of Amin Dada for chasing Asians in 1972. He was a real hit huh?