Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069

3rd February 2011

Elections by Keziah Berelson

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Mango, mango, mango!

Well, it’s finally here … mango season, after weeks of sour, unripe mangoes with salt (don’t knock it …), the moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here!

Rather a let-down to be fair, the mangoes are delicious, but havent grown past a fist size. Nevertheless, we still wake up to a small pile of them at the door every morning – and I’m not complaining. Ultimately, as we’re seeing off the last of the rainy season by early December, it’s everything season; maize, Irish potatoes, peppers, oranges – you want it – you pick it.

In time for the harvest, comes the beginnings of political campaigns for the February 2011 Presidential and local elections in Uganda, sowing the seeds for another four years of General oweri K. Museveni.

To give you a little background: After the fall of Amin in 1979, and the 1982 – 86 civil war, between Obote and Museveni, The Safari-hat wearing Runyankole, has been in power for 24 years, heading the NRM (National Resistance Movement). Uganda began having ‘free and fair’ elections from 2006, making 2011 its second.

Mubende District is a hardcore NRM support base, with many of its trading centres having electricity, and a good road – why not? On top of this, the opposition are divided to say the least. The strongest opposition to the president would be dr. Kizza Besigye of the IPC; however, after his defeat in 2006, he was gracefully ejected from the country for 4 years, and went to South Africa. On his return, he was charged with rape and assault, I think we can all see how this is going …

Anyway – most of that you can probably get off of Wikipedia, with far more citations, and interesting references. Nevertheless, we were treated to something that even my MP IDS and his shiny rosettes can’t top.

Sitting outside our post office, trying to decipher our letters from our shiny new (and more importantly, working) P.O.Box, the road ahead was swamped by a parade lasting 20 minutes, for over 5 different political parties. First, NRM, yellow posters splattered all over a pick-up truck boasting 10 woofers and one vuvuzela, yellow, of course. Then a parade of 23 motorbikes, each sprouting 3 eucalyptus branches – to promote the presidentiary candidate Mao. Then along comes the IPC – 3 pick up trucks this time, one even had an entire troupe of Kiganda dancers, in T shirts with Kizza’s face on it – a sight for sore eyes indeed…

I’ll be keeping a close eye on all things electoral, and hope it will provide a lot more entertainment than staying up all night waiting for marginal seats in the West of England.

For now though, exams are over, and we’re onto 2 months of school holidays. Unfortunately, our visas only last for a measly 3 months, so we’ll have to leave the country to renew it. I’ve been grudgingly roped into a safari. With free-roaming game. On a bike. So we’ll see how that goes, and how many limbs I have left by the end of it.

Until Kenya!

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