Entries from January 2021

Ugandan Election Special: Dancehall Democracy versus Anti-Social Autocrats

It’s that time of the decade, kids, and once again the Ugandan electoral spectacle shows how to put the “fun” back into dysfunctional!
Here’s a rough guide to the dynamics of central Africa’s most exciting, explosive and explicit post-colonial state.

Dramatis Personae:

Museveni on Twitter

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
• elderly president/autocrat;
• has held the presidency since 1986, when he took power in a civil war;
• is conservative and reactionary, ruling largely through a deep-rooted form of political patronage;
• immensely popular in rural areas and with many people over 30;
• may genuinely win the election, but is being so mean and violent in the run-up, we can be forgiven for thinking he actually fears losing this time.
• Music Skills: Terrible, with ponderous hit single “Do You Want Another Rap?”
• Catchphrase: “I will eat my enemies like samosas”

Bobi on Twitter

Robert Kyagulani, aka Bobi Wine
• handsome, young-ish Dancehall superstar (it’s a bit like Shaggy running for the US presidency);
• has been MP since 2017, and founder of the immensely popular “People Power” movement in Uganda;
• is broadly socialist in his speech, but has yet to articulate a coherent ideological position or set of policies;
• immensely popular with the youth and unemployed (which is most Ugandans) and Dancehall fans;
• may possibly win more votes than Museveni, and has the incumbent more than a little worried.
• Music Skills: One of the best pop artists in Africa, mixing traditional instruments with digital beats and on-point social messages, e.g. “Kyarenga”
• Catchphrase: “We are removing a dictator”

This little summary aims not to repeat the details you can find on Wikipedia or in the news. Instead, I wanted to take you on a little trip behind the headlines.

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Datacide Eighteen reprinted and available again

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