Akogo, the Iteso music instrument – more like a hand-held xylophone than a miniature piano or accordion – had another added usage, besides simply creating dance music. The rhythmic beat of its keys, as one played a song, could be used to prod a traveler to walk long distances without feeling the inevitable tiredness. Such a song was: Amina eong aberu na (This woman loves me).
That is the type of beat which is evident in some of Bobi Wine’s (Robert Kyagulanyi) songs. Some of them have a similar rhythm that can take a person far in walking, or for that matter, in loving. The architects of the Walk-to-Work movement might have adopted them to their protest use. But more than that, Bobi Wine, himself, has now become a personification of this type of resilience.
As a musician then, he probably had not envisaged the political impact he would create – far from the likes of South Africa’s, the late Lucky Dube. Quite obviously, his music had seeped deep into people’s mind-set, to the extent that his arrest has caused a global uproar, not just among the international music fraternity, but also among the politicians and diplomats.
But it is in its national creeping psyche, that Bobi’s music, translated from his accession to Parliament, a little over a year ago, that is now causing political waves. That has been especially evident in the recent by-elections that have convulsed the electoral demographics of this country.
Its effect is most likely to be felt most in the arena of the Opposition parties; and even within the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. This has been most pronounced in the recent Arua by-election, that was incidentally orchestrated by the-yet unresolved, probably irresolvable, assassination of then-incumbent, the ridiculously mercurial Ibrahim Abiriga.
The main effect is likely to take place in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). When Bobi Wine joined the Arua by-election campaigns, he took the side of Kassiano Wadri, an FDC member, who had either reneged the party, or had been booted out of it for indiscipline. This occurred in the party primaries when Wadri failed to get the nod from the party as its candidate.
This in itself bore a couple of ramifications. Wadri had been a Member of Parliament before for Terego Constituency, but had been defeated in a re-election, most likely out of the machinations of the NRM. He had been a thorn in the flesh of the powers-that-be as he had been the chairman of the Parliamentary committee, COSASE – the Committee for Statutory Assurances and State Enterprises. Here, he had revealed the level of corruption and theft of public funds in the Government projects that was visited upon the public Treasury, by those who have been mandated to actually see that it works for the good of all the people of Uganda. So they assiduously worked for his constituency downfall.
Needless to say, it must have been annoying to these people that Wadri had surfaced again. The first place where they worked against him, was in the FDC, to prevent him from representing the party. This was done through the infiltration of some of the party stalwarts who have been heavily compromised by the NRM operatives.
The taste of this was when the FDC party president, Patrick Oboi Amuriat, now going by his acronym, POA, replaced FDC chairpersons of the Parliamentary committees, including his Leader of the Opposition, Winnie Kizza. The initial uproar by these people was only quelled when one of the FDC stalwarts, Salaam Musumba, threatened to expose their perfidy in scooping from the NRM thieving largesse.
It is from these shenanigans that Wadri broke ranks. And he eyed the help in the rising popularity of the “Ghetto President”, Bobi Wine. Nobody now seems to remember the apparent sleaze that Bobi has emerged from. The 36 year-old is now a graduate of the prestigious, but difficult Music, Dance and Drama course; and has even attended the US Washington Kennedy School of Government.
One of the songs that epitomize his probable departure from the ghetto is the one with the lyrics: Man made money, but money made man mad! This is a very accurate reflection of the big wigs of the NRM, who shout loudest at fighting corruption, yet they are the biggest grasping thieves from the people.
Alongside his pulsating, sometimes rap, which has attracted a huge, young, restive and among the majority unemployed population, the cry for “People Power”, has hit a resonant nerve among them. It is evident that these people are combining the music, populism and politics to the extent that the whole mix is indistinguishable. But it eats into the whole political fabric to that extent that it is causing the so-called established parties to rend asunder.
The obvious fear among the senile politicians is that should People Power be translated and registered as a political party, the chances are that – let us name it – the Party of People Power – will likely take over the political power.