MONETIZATION OF POLITICS, A DO OR DIE VENTURE

On the voting day is when I witnessed what I have always written about as a journalist in the past elections. Money in politics. In fact someone told me that politics is for the giants, it's a do or die venture, Kuffa na kuwoona. I didn't have even a penny to invest in but my opponent who was also the incumbent invested in heavenly to the extent of buying off my agents in some areas. A day to the elections 15th, September 2020, I saw money, soap and other commodities dished in the voters by my competitor from corner to corner but this was expected as way of bribing voters to be by his side hence vote him. it’s here when I came to know that politic has been commercialized in Uganda and if you are not well off or saved enough,  you just have to forget serving your people through a political office. I was heavily scared about this but as a younger man with ambitions to serve my people I continued to soldier on until the battle was over. I knew I had the support of the people and Allah was on our side so there was nothing to worry about. The due day came, early Wednesday 16/09/2020 morning vehicles started flogging in  people from one polling station to another even those who never belonged to our division but i had the power to stop them but thought on how chaotic it was going to be which have caused more harm to my people rather sought the person concerned will take charge of the situation. 

MONETIZATION OF POLITICS, A DO OR DIE VENTURE
Wabusimba Amiri former aspirant for east division mubende municipality
MONETIZATION OF POLITICS, A DO OR DIE VENTURE

Early July this year while at work, I developed  ambitions to run for a political office in my area Mubende as chairman LC3 to be specific, mayor East Division  Mubende municipality. This wasn't my first time to think about politics,  I remember in 2015 i wanted to run as mayor mubende town council before it became a municipality but along the way got caught up in the private sector. 

This time around i was serious to give it a short, I contacted my graphics designer to come up with a poster which he did, as we talk,  the first poster got on social media and  received good reception as well as criticism. Many found it uncomfortable to see a poster with both NRM logo and People Power symbol.  For I thought it's ok to be in NRM and support people power since people power was just a pressure group not a political party. 

I had  to work on this in order for people to get it clear on where I belong. For many friends and my bosses at work thought it was a joke not knowing I had made up my mind to give politics a short. 

I got out of the office and hit the ground and When the NRM primaries became serious,  I had to resign my job to concentrate in the field. In the start, I had little support from my the current incumbent NRM leaders even though I became serious, non of them jumped on board but my family, media and friends offered me support that pushed me further.

Even though they supported me, they kept asking me why I took  decision to contest on NRM party ticket.  Many wanted me to use the national unity platform (NUP) to avoid what they termed as mafia politics in the NRM party.  I objected and gave reasons why I would be comfortable under my party NRM.

I can say the campaigns went on well, I was offered the necessary support from my friends,  those who saw me as the liberator for east division from poor service delivery and media platform on equally all Radio platform in Mubende without a single pay for airtime space.

On the voting day is when I witnessed what I have always written about as a journalist in the past elections. Money in politics. In fact someone told me that politics is for the giants, it's a do or die venture, Kuffa na kuwoona. I didn't have even a penny to invest in but my opponent who was also the incumbent invested in heavenly to the extent of buying off my agents in some areas.

A day to the elections 15th, September 2020, I saw money, soap and other commodities dished in the voters by my competitor from corner to corner but this was expected as way of bribing voters to be by his side hence vote him. it’s here when I came to know that politic has been commercialized in Uganda and if you are not well off or saved enough,  you just have to forget serving your people through a political office.

I was heavily scared about this but as a younger man with ambitions to serve my people I continued to soldier on until the battle was over. I knew I had the support of the people and Allah was on our side so there was nothing to worry about. The due day came, early Wednesday 16/09/2020 morning vehicles started flogging in  people from one polling station to another even those who never belonged to our division but i had the power to stop them but thought on how chaotic it was going to be which have caused more harm to my people rather sought the person concerned will take charge of the situation. 

I got the courage to intercept one of the vehicle which was carrying people from one polling station to another, it had  business giants in Mubende with bouncers providing security to them. I  had to let it go. Many of my agents were compromised and in some areas scared away and things went their way. I also came to realize that poverty in our areas has caused many people to have double standards in choosing who should lead them. They vote those that will give them something tangible in compromise of service delivery. 

Even in the areas where I won, results were changed, can you imagine in other areas Lc1 chairpersons could not allow me to campaign even on the polling day some people were stopped from lineup on my agent to deny me a win. I told my team that this was not a do or die, I encouraged them to keep strong since inside us we knew we had scored beyond reasonable doubt. 

After hours of tallying the winner was announced and as a believer, I accepted the defeat no matter how  scientific it looked. I surely came to realize that without money you can not win any election in Uganda unless it is free and fair or when the people themselves decide to eat the money and vote otherwise. Its apity to my NRM party after 35 years in power we can't organise a free and fair election with nothings marked on hose who had voted as the easier way to know who had voted and those who had not and this led to double voting even some voted more than 3times in different places since it was open for anyone to vote.

The funny part of politics is that you lose elections and your job too because you resign to join politics.  By the time you think to return,  your position is already filled by someone,  so you start again as a job seeker.  This is what I  have to embark on in the months a head. Am so proud for whoever stood with me in this first trial, I know I will be back in the race in years to come.  My family, friends,  media houses and my party NRM. As many asked me to appeal or come as independent,  I decided to let go for the love of my Party I will not contest as an independent in the next general election but I will give my support to all the NRM flag bearers in particular the NRM chairperson in the forth coming elections.

The writer is A journalist,  marketing consultant  and former aspirant for East Division Mayor,  Mubende Municipality 

Wabusimba Amiri Aka Shanix 

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