2016 Lie In A Journalist's Eye


cure sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>My work is largely confined to the capital Kampala, and for now, I am still comfortable with that!

Down the to the field, tension and anxiety is piling by the day, about the next general elections, slated for mid-March 2016, or the lack of it for that matter.

Barely a year and a half in this news hunting business, or rather calling, my experienced comrades tell me, this is a time that journalists don’t go to sleep; when every day is a field day packed with sweating, running, fatigue, pressure, and whips; [yes, they get some too, when they ‘misbehave’]

And then going back to report about the most ridiculous lies fed to voters by those power-hungry candidates.

Speaking of lies, a couple of weeks ago, I covered an event in Kimaka village in Jinja district just about a kilometre across the Kiira dam, which seemed to give me a picture of what I am meant to experience when 2016/2021 finally comes.

I have lately become rather cynical about what kind of elections we are likely to have, realising that 20 or so months to go, the spotlight is not trained on Dr. Kiiza Besigye, or Norbert Mao, or Paul Ssemogerere or any opposition leader but the ruling NRM.

A feeling still lingers that the race could be between two NRM stallions Yoweri Museveni and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.

But back to my trip to Busogaland, (where also hails another NRM potential 2016 factor Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga), I got to seriously question the abilities of the ordinary Ugandan to determine the county’s destiny.

Here, a brand new hospital was being commissioned.

It was all courtesy of Eskom Uganda Ltd, a South African based company tasked with generation of electricity at the Own Falls Dam just a stone throw away.

Eskom said this was part of their extensive Social Corporate Responsibility, but this was an opportunity not too small for local politicians to propagate lies and till ground for their 2016 aspirations.

“I told you when I sought your votes in 2011 that this area needed a far sighted man, a man who would hunt for each and every one of you,” affirmed area MP, Moses Balyeku.

“By the way, did you all get lunch? That too is my responsibility. My name is Moses Balyeku… Boona Balyeku [translating everyone should have something to eat]”.

At this time the ululations were deafening, and I, and my colleagues and visitors from South Africa were chuckling.

“Now that you have this maternity ward here, no woman in this village will have to travel to the main [Jinja Referral] hospital to give birth. So every time you feel the birth pangs coming all you have to do is scream my name.”

“See?” a colleague tapped my back.

The MP went on to reassure his people of how they had made the best pick for representation, from the ruling NRM party, which is at the source of all they need.

Meanwhile, residents in their hundreds had turned up, many of them in yellow T-shirts printed “VOTE NRM” while others clad in dry banana leaves, [symbolism for another term].

In the meantime, I, together with my colleagues and the visitors from South Africa, were visibly perplexed.

We certainly didn’t see this coming.

Then came the area LC3 Chairman, a one William Ebusa, who also had a word or two to give out to the crowd.

“We owe a lot to our good MP Hon Balyeku for being so farsighted. You realise that this is densely populated area, and our women, if allowed could produce a child in every 5 minutes. But he…”

I missed the rest of the story to pick a more important call. I gladly did.

But then I realised, this is not an alien phenomenon.

This is how majority if our politicians have come to office.

Only the best at this game will reign on and on for…may be forever.

For as long as God in heaven doesn’t help Ugandans stop politicians from abusing the essence of elections, in want to keep my enthusiasm where it is about 2016, 21, 26…

Nonetheless the day’s Chief Speaker, Mr Tshotse Zola, Chairman Eskom South Africa made a comment that left me without a choice but to put down my camera and applause loudly.

“We [at Eskom] are glad to partner with the people of Kimaka. You know we are partners in this production business, only that while we are busy producing power down that side, you people are here producing young ones this side!”

But that was in English, so the crowd did not understand. They need a good school in the area as well.


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