Voting for the general election was set for 11 January to 3 February, while the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections were held on 14 January.
Hildaman, whose real name is Hillary Kiyaga, will serve as MP for the Mawokota North constituency. He trounced Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Minister Amelia Kyambadde, who has represented the region for a decade. Before his victory, the ‘Mazongoto’ singer campaigned on the need to revive rural electrification programmes and improve access to safe drinking water. He also announced that he would take a break from writing and recording music to focus on supporting and mentoring young artists in his constituency.
Another newly elected MP is Lutaaya who emerged as the winner of the hotly contested Kakuuto County constituency. He will replace Christopher Kalemba of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). With a music career spanning more than two decades, it remains to be seen whether Lutaaya will continue in his role as the bandleader of the De New Eagles, which he co-founded with his wife Irene Namatovu in 2016.
Clinching the Bugweri District parliamentary seat is Afrigo Band member Magoola, who is now the second female musician in Parliament after Judith Babirye, who has represented the Buikwe District constituency since 2016. Magoola’s campaign promises include better health facilities, quality education and support for the agricultural sector. In the past, Magoola told local media that she intended to use music in her lobbying and advocacy strategy to ensure development in her constituency.
Popular radio host and musician Mosh Sendi is the new LC 5 councillor for the Makindye East III division. In his new position, he hopes to initiate development programmes for women and young people, as well as for the sports and creative sectors. Although he has not recorded new music in more than a decade, he performs live on a regular basis.
The elections also attracted contestants from the music business sector. Well-known artist manager Kayemba, popularly known as Solo, was elected as the MP for the Bukomansimbi South constituency. Apart from managing artists such as Rema Namakula and Chris Evans, he is also a football agent for players like Emmanuel Okwi, Muhammad Shaban and Joseph Ochaya. “I will continue doing my work both in sports and entertainment,” Kayemba told local media.
The five music industry professionals are among 61 newly elected legislators of the Bobi Wine-led National Unity Platform (NUP), making it the biggest opposition political party in Uganda.
The Electoral Commission of Uganda declared on 16 January President Yoweri Museveni as the winner of the country’s presidential election with 58.64% of the total votes cast. Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, secured 34.83% of the vote. Voter turnout was 52% of those eligible to take part in the polls.
The UK and US, the latter of which declined to observe the elections, have voiced concern over the Ugandan government’s shutdown of the Internet hours before the presidential polls opened and expressed doubts over the validity of the results. The Internet was restored on 18 January after which the opposition began sharing photographs and video footage of alleged election fraud.
In recent developments, Bobi Wine announced on 26 January that his party would challenge the results. The 38 year old was addressing the media for the first time after the High Court ended an 11-day house arrest at his home in the capital Kampala. The Ugandan Constitution requires that a person files for a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the election of a president-elect within 14 days after the declaration of the election results. The NUP’s deadline to petition the court is 30 January.
Other musicians who contested for various political positions but lost include Jose Chameleone, Ragga Dee, Kato Lubwama, Katongole Omutongole, Dr Bitone, Victor Kamenyo, Adam Mulwana and Sophie Gombya. Meanwhile, DJ Jacob Omutuuze, who is hoping to clinch the mayorship in Kyengera, and Mathias Walukagga, who is contesting for the LC 3 chairmanship in Bunamwaya, will know their fate on 3 February.