Bobi Wine: I’ve slept hungry in gutters with commoners

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Barbie asks voters for support on her knees

Once again, let me express my profound gratitude to all the people who turned up and supported us on nomination day in every way. It was massive.

I was thrilled beyond measure for the great enthusiasm. I could see on many faces, as I’ve been seeing in my door-to-door campaigns, a renewed hope.

The people of Kyadondo East are reenergized and are determined to establish a leadership that works for them. Shout out to you all of YOU who followed us on Facebook live! Thanks for your encouragement, everyone.

Fellow musicians, local and national leaders from all political leanings, religious and traditional leaders, comedians, the media and well-wishers: THANK YOU!

After nominations, we drove for seven hours moving from parish to parish. I addressed nine rallies and I talked with people about why I am running in this election.

I laid down our agenda to the voters. It has been a busy few days, so I didn’t get time to publish what I said. However, many people who heard me speak or watched on TV have asked me for a written copy of my nomination speech.

I spoke both in Luganda and English to the humongous crowds and although I said many things, I want to summarise my nomination speech for you here:

The people of Kyadondo East, fellow countrymen and women! The first and most important point in our campaign is that we want to give a voice to the common person.

Bobi campaigns

Just like our campaign slogan, *‘eddoboozi ly’omuntu wabulijjo’* this campaign is about giving a voice to the voiceless, defending the defenseless and representing the unrepresented.

This isn’t about me Kyagulanyi Robert Ssentamu – this is about you, the people. Those who have been watching me over the years know that this is not a mere campaign slogan – this is not just political rhetoric.

For years now I have sang about the plight of that common person, spoken for that common person and done everything within my power to solve some of the common people’s problems.

Who is this common person? By the ‘common person,’ I mean the men and women right here in Kyadondo East who work so hard and yet struggle to make ends meet; the people who pay huge taxes and yet get so little in return; the people who love their country so much yet they have given up on it, because their leaders are not inspiring enough… Leaders have become misleaders and mentors have become tormentors!

Our campaign aims to build confidence in our people once again to take charge of their destiny. The fundamental problem our country faces is that our people are not involved. They have been sidelined.

This is so despite that Article 1 of our Constitution promises that ‘All power belongs to the people.’ Yet as we know that is only on paper. The power in Uganda today belongs to a few people who purport to exercise it on our behalf, but in actual sense exercise it for their selfish and oftentimes dangerous aims.

Those few people who have power (and responsibility) do not consult us, the common people. It is tragic that many Ugandans have given up on politics when they should be more involved.

It seems that most leaders are simply feeding themselves at the trough of Government, and not thinking about us. Why would they when they send their children to international schools and can go abroad with our taxes for their healthcare?

They are not even living in the same Uganda as the common people, and yet they control the budget! This is why we must get involved! This is why the common person must understand her or his true power!

Laws are passed without our input and our country’s resources are misused and ruined without our say. Huge sums of money are borrowed on ‘our behalf’ without consulting us.

They are mismanaged and embezzled. But in turn who will have to pay? Ourselves, our children and our grandchildren! DEBT IS A YOUTH ISSUE.

This is the tragedy that we must confront. Our people must reclaim their power and shape their destiny. It is because of this reason that I decided to run Independent.

Our campaign is an umbrella bringing together people from all political parties and persuasions who are united in purpose and zeal. People whose uniting factor is the love for their country and a hope for a good future for themselves and future generations of Ugandans!

To the young people in Kyadondo and indeed elsewhere, YOU are my passion. My message to you has been that we should and we must get involved now! We have waited far too long. Year in, year out, we are told that we are the leaders of tomorrow, yet that tomorrow never comes.

 

I want to repeat to our young men and women: we are the future and the future is today! We must arise and take our place. History shows us that youth can build nations.

Being one of the youngest populations in the world shouldn’t be a liability – it should be an asset. My faith in our young people has never been as solid as it is now. We are the majority, we are energetic and we are intelligent, but we’ve been kept on the periphery. What we need are not handouts. What we need are SOLUTIONS.

We are capable of advancing in technology and innovation, in agriculture and education. We are capable of defining what works and what doesn’t work. And yes, we should take a lead in introducing good politics. To build a better Uganda of tomorrow, young people should take the lead now!

Some people might be skeptical. They wonder how a Member of Parliament can solve so many problems. They call it over-ambition. I understand their cynicism, because that is what our people are used to: politicians who make promises and never follow up on them until they return for the next election cycle and repeat the same promises.

I am not that kind of politician. I have been serving my community, and I will continue to serve no matter what.

The three main roles of a Member of Parliament are representation, legislation and oversight. We all know how ineffective most of ‘our representatives’ have been in fulfilling this mandate.

We know that our parliament has dismally fulfilled its supervisory role over policy implementation and how public resources are handled. Leaders should be servants of the people, and people should have a say in who and how they are governed, but that is not how politics works now in our country.

What Kyadondo East (and Uganda) needs today is not another politician. We have had those and tested them for so many years. What we need are leaders who lead from the bottom, supporting everyone to get involved.

Uganda needs more patriotic leaders who place their nation above themselves and think less about per diems and fancy hotels, and more about the future of Uganda. We need leaders who understand the plight of the common person.

I have been in the trenches. I have been through what most of our people go through every day. As someone who grew up in the ghetto, I know what it means to sleep hungry; to work so hard and see no returns; to live in a dilapidated house with a leaking roof surrounded by unsanitary drainage systems.

I have been in the shoes of our unemployed youth and have lived a day in the life of a street vendor. Perhaps this is where my passion comes from; the passion to lift the common person from these unfortunate conditions.

The task ahead is enormous. I cannot do it alone. But together we can cause a bigger wave of change than we could even anticipate. Our plan is that right after Election Day, we will get to work.

We will mobilise and organise. We will unite and sensitise. We will listen and do our research. We will focus on solutions and work relentlessly to see them through.

I spoke from my heart at those rallies and cannot explain everything in this Facebook post, but I will speak – and listen – more at our upcoming campaign rallies, which I invite all the voters to attend.

I will keep sharing on Facebook so everyone in Uganda and beyond can be part of our campaign.

*Voting is 29th June. Let’s do this. For God and My Country!*

Kyadondo East MP candidate and singer Robert Kyagulanyi’s nomination speech