Is voting for the youth in Uganda?

“You want another rap? Yes Sevo……!!!”
As I write this, I can’t stop thinking about President Museveni’s now famous rap “Mpa Enkoni……[Translated as Give me a walking stick…..]” whose lyrics I hardly understand. But since Music is a universal Language, one does not have to understand the words to enjoy the song otherwise musicians like Lil Wyne, 50 Cent and Sean Paul would no longer be in the music industry.

For those who use social networks like Facebook and twitter, you will agree with me that majority of the updates have been about the President’s rap, giving users a break from the famous Jiggers in Busoga(Southern Uganda), the re-opening of Central Broadcasting radio station which had been shut doen by Government last year and the many potholes in Kampala city. There is no doubt that President Museveni has won himself a lot of support from the eligible youth voters because of this rap.

United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of the youth and the recently released statistics indicate Uganda’s Youth Population second in the entire African Continent after Niger. With youth contributing to more than half of the Country’s population of 32 million, it is evident that young people in Uganda have a big role to play in the forthcoming elections. But how many know about their rights to vote? And how many registered to vote?
Now that President Museveni’s rap has become quite famous among the young people to an extent that it’s being used as a mobile phone ringtone by some, it’s high time he took advantage of its popularity.

Having the video and audio clips of the rap all over the cyberspace makes it crystal clear that many Ugandans especially the youth can now access internet, it’s therefore important for Government to invest more in making internet and ICTs more accessible to the citizens especially the youth and the rural communities. With more ICTs and improved internet access, Young people shall have information reach them in time as well as advertise the beauty of our country to a bigger global community, which is only known for war and brutality from some of the past regimes.
How about using the rap to educate people about copyrights? Because I am pretty sure that the President has reserved rights to the rap. This would greatly benefit writers and artists who since time immemorial have cried about the issue of piracy.

Looking at some of the opposition party candidates, The Democratic Party flag bearer and presidential candidate Hon. Nobert Mao who is also the youngest of the candidates is famous too among the youth because of his ability to deliver his messages clearly and eloquently without focusing on attacking his opponents and for his wife Mrs. Naomi Achieng who is now being referred to as the “Michelle Obama” of Uganda by mainly the young people. For Dr. Kizza Besigye the Inter-party cooperation(IPC) joint Candidate, the message is ‘political change’ not sure if he intends to involve the youth in this change. And for Uganda’s Peoples’ Congress (UPC), emphasis is on having an independent Electoral Commission, whether youth will be involved in this, Ambassador Olara Otunnu knows best. The underlying questions is; Are the candidates aware of the pressing needs of the youth? And when the candidates get the votes, will the issues currently affecting the youth like unemployment and high costs of education be addressed? Or they are just being used as a means to an end?
Whatever strategies being used by the aspiring presidential candidates; be it a rap, workshops or incentives, the youth have to be careful when casting their votes. They need to avoid Short term benefits and concentrate more on what will benefit them in the future.

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The truth of the matter is,

enamara's picture

The truth of the matter is, Y.K Museveni had a winning strategy, now whether or not the whole rap scenario was intended or not is another story, but the fact that the rap is out there and causing a lot of excitement is good enough for him.

If you look at the statistics of the last election and the percentage of the people who voted for Sevo, you will realise that not so many of those were the youth.. actually he scooped not so many votes from Kampala Central. His main asset has always been the women, and the elderly people in the villages who believe he is the Hero who got us from the war.. and thus we have to stick to him.

Now with the youth involved, with more that 20,000 hits on youtube, facebook, twitter, etc his numbers are fast increasing and thus his popularity.

Like you said, I hope he can see the potential in the Youths and also have a strong ground for them in his plans. Norbert Mao.. a young prominent contestant should have thought about this before.. but well, we'll see how it all plays out.

The Youth in Uganda are now more empowered. They network a lot and ultimately use social media a lot. If only some candidates can use Social media so well and effectively like Obama did in his quest for American presidency the first time round, they would come out successful.

Well writen Evelyn. I can't

Maureen_Agena's picture

Well writen Evelyn. I can't agree more!! Tapping into the potential of the youth is the only way to go, given their big number in the Country!!

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