The surprises of the 2021 general elections did not stop at the defeat of all cabinet ministers from the Buganda sub-region including the vice president, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi. Musician Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP) party continues to send shock waves to the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ruling establishment with the defeat of its well-established and well-facilitated candidates at different levels especially in Buganda and Busoga sub-regions.
The January 20 LC-V elections added to the NRM’s misery in the two neighbouring sub-regions as the NUP wave continued to sweep out experienced politicians and brought in young politicians whose interest in politics doesn’t go beyond 2017 when Bobi Wine joined Parliament as Kyadondo East MP.
Among them is Peter Kasolo, a comedian better known as Uncle Oketcho Kasolo who was elected as Mayor of Jinja City.
Kasolo claim to fame is through the Swengere family, a comedy crew based in Jinja that is behind the minute-long comedy skits that air daily on Bukedde TV. The group also earns from performances at local events such as kwanjula (introduction) ceremonies and weddings. He also co-hosts a morning radio show on Baba FM.
Before Bobi Wine entered politics, Kasolo had less interest in politics but with the pop star’s inspiration, Kasolo became one of the lead promoters of the people power political movement which later morphed into NUP in August last year.
And when the new political party started looking for candidates, Kasolo offered to hold the NUP flag in the Jinja City mayoral race.
Not many looked at him as a serious candidate that few expected him to defeat experienced candidates like former Kagoma MP, Dr. Frank Nabwiso of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
His election for the city’s biggest office has attracted mixed feelings with some raising fears that may fail to differentiate between the roles of the comedian that he is from those of a city mayor – which is more demanding.
John Tusingwire, a businessman argues that the city deserved a pioneer mayor who is politically experienced to lay a firm foundation for its leadership and development.
“Although democracy requires us to go by the majority, I think our city deserved leaders with great political experience to nurture a firm foundation which will guide other generations,” Tusingwire said.
Brenda Naikoba, a teacher says that leaders are made and members of the public should freely elect people of great substance with the requisite wisdom to foster good governance.
“Gone are the days when leaders were selected basing on their social status, and I think that’s why the people of Jinja chose Kasolo, a renowned comedian to spearhead political leadership at the city hall,” she said.
Titus Kisambira, the Jinja LCV Chairperson argues that Kasolo’s ability to convince thousands of city dwellers to cast their ballots in his favour and ignore his other contenders who had wide political experience is testimony to his ability to design programs aimed at improving the livelihoods of his supporters.
Kasolo doesn’t plan to give up his comedian roles because taking up a leadership position does not mean to kill talent. As mayor, Kasolo says, he will seek guidance from the different stakeholders on how best to juggle both the leadership and comedy roles to effectively serve the electorates’ interests without fear.
“I may be bright but I’m not a genius, when we work together, we shall achieve our goal of developing the city. Jinja is a big city, it is a new city; I need ideas [from everyone], when you see me going off track, please come and correct me,” Kasolo said.