Sunday, January 09, 2011


WHEN he sang Tugende e’Kampala two years ago, local politicians aspiring for the Kampala Central parliamentary seat should have taken notice. They didn’t. Now, Eddy Yawe has made a startling arrival to claim the Kampala MP’s slot and the other aspirants are on their toes. For more than 15 years, Ugandans have known him as a music producer and brother to local musician Bobi Wine. Yawe’s candidature for the seat appears like another bad joke sprung on the electorate: a musician for MP? Can the Democratic Party really be serious? Yet Yawe managed to pull a fast one on the fiery incumbent Erias Lukwago when DP delegates anointed the novice over the well-known lawyer as flag-bearer for the 2011 elections. Backed by hundreds of supporters chanting his name at the Christ the King hall were the primaries were held, they endorsed the musician over the seasoned legislator and advocate. While many people think Yawe’s only link to politics was being the brother to the president of the fictitious Republic of Uganja, he dredges up a political history. Yawe says both his father and grandfather belonged to DP for decades. He says that as a first year student at Makerere University in 1996 he composed the song Olubengo and campaigned for former DP president Kawanga Ssemogerere when he ran for president in 1996. He also campaigned for former Kampala mayor and DP president Sebaana Kizito in 2006. Yawe also supported Lukwago in 2006 but is now one of those who decry the incumbent’s penchant for protest at the expense of his constituents’ development. Ssebaana Kizito has backed Yawe’s bid, telling voters that musicians make good leaders because they are creative problem solvers. His opponents are not quick to dismiss his potential. They know that this is an electorate that has voted radio DJs, under-educated candidates and dramatists in the name of ‘our man’. In an age where even the president and his principal private secretary are wooing voters of every shade with music, Yawe is not misplaced. In fact he might be at an advantage. Yawe does pose a strong threat. It is why people suspect the incumbent Lukwago avoided the competition and instead went to compete for the mayorship of Kampala. The 37-year-old producer and is one of the godfathers of local music production, having nursed most of the producers at his hit-making Dream Studios in Kamwokya. Primarily his business is music, but Yawe has proved to be quite an astute businessman in this. He is banking on his personal entrepreneurship past to show that he has new ideas that will take the city to desired heights. He wants to fight poverty in the city using new approaches. Perhaps Kampala is ready for a different kind of representative, one who can be practical in delivering solutions rather than politicking without tangible results, something they blame the incumbent for. While he has declared intentions to fight for Buganda’s causes, some are not convinced about Yawe’s zeal for the Kingdom. Yawe believes he is well-armed with contacts from developed countries like the Netherlands and the US where he has done studies in music, radio and television production. He plans to use these contacts to fund and spur modern developments in the city. Many musicians and music fans will rally behind Yawe whose campaign rallies are already turning out like free concerts when his popular brother Wine joins the trail. His opponents, Inter Party Co-operation’s Muhammad Kibirige Mayanja and National Resistance Movement’s Mohammed Nsereko are in the difficult position of sharing the Muslim vote. This could leave the narrow gate open for Yawe to run through easily. Compiled by Esther Namugoji

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