POLITICAL DREAMERS: 2016 is around the corner and we all know what that means in Uganda’s political lines. See, we all have dreams, and if yours is to take a seat in the August House soon, then you need to follow Ian Ortega’s handbook on how to be a Ugandan politician.
Upcoming Ugandan politicians are doing everything wrong. They have failed to understand this game of Ugandan politics. Just as there is a manual for your television set, there is also a manual for those wishing to be Ugandan politicians. This manual has been safely guarded since 1962. It is the same manual that has seen politicians get re-elected; those who have disregarded it have lost power. It is your choice to heed it or not, however you are not immune to the consequences. Here is how to be a Ugandan politician.
1. It is all about God
This is the first step to becoming a Ugandan politician. Everything you do must have a God factor. It is either God sent you or you are seen around men of God. As a Ugandan politician, you can never be an atheist. You must spend your life opening up a new mosque, breaking ground for the construction of a new church or visiting a shrine at the worst. It is because of the power of God that you will begin to see Jesus’ miracles replicated in your life. A constituency will have only 10,000 registered voters, but Jesus will multiply those votes into 100,000. God is not a son of man that He should lie to his faithful Ugandan politician. When it is time to give your acceptance speech, remember to thank God, and when swearing in, do not forget to solemnly swear. Invoke God at every slightest opportunity.
2. Have no sense of shame
People are going to say all sorts of things about you. They will blame you of fattening on their taxes; they will accuse you of not doing anything during your previous term in office. They will accuse you for their children’s poor performance, they will even accuse you when their husbands and wives leave them, but fear not because you have no sense of shame. It will take you a long way. Do not be ashamed of priding yourself in improving the education system at home while taking your children to universities abroad. Do not be eaten up by guilt if you claim to have good hospitals but still fly out for your knee operation.
Do you sometimes feel ashamed when caught doing wrong? Then, you cannot be a Ugandan politician. Ugandan politics is looking for men and women of iron and steel, men who will be caught stealing meat from the saucepan, lick their fingers, look straight into the cameras and deny any connection with meat, let alone having ever tasted meat their entire life.
3. Always accuse ‘hidden forces’ aka mafias
There is always some unseen force that is trying to fight you. If you are caught red-handed stuffing your pockets with money, accuse that hidden force. If there are no roads in your constituency, accuse that hidden force. For goodness sake, never take responsibility for anything going wrong. If the city is flooding, accuse the hidden forces of the Opposition. If you are implicated in a scandal, vehemently deny those accusations and accuse some hidden forces. After all, you are mahogany. No amount of political vendetta shall prosper. Remember rule number one, the blood of Jesus always washes a Ugandan politician spotless. Gather up your tribemates when you are about to be arrested and accuse the other tribes of witch-hunt.
4. Do not make noise while eating
It is not in order for a mouth that is eating to make noise. Only make noise if you are not eating. Only make noise if some young chap preaching ideology begins to aim for your seat, otherwise keep your mouth shut. The only time you should make noise as a Ugandan politician is when you want to be noticed. The moment you are made minister, go silent. To show your voters that you are active, remember to complain about the size of the condoms. When it comes to voting for salary increments and new cars for MPs, revert to the default setting of “be silent until pockets are empty.”
5. Never remember anything
As a Ugandan politician, the worst thing you should have is a good memory. Never remember your voters, never remember things you said, even if you said them minutes ago. The only thing that should be consistent with you should be your inconsistency. Promise people that you will not be participating in elections, then come back from semi-retirement to become your party’s flag-bearer. Tell people that it is not good for leaders to over-stay in power and wake up 30 years later to make it clear that this applies if the people’s mandate is absent. The moment you begin remembering the things you said or did will be the beginning of your downfall as a Ugandan politician. Your job as a politician is not to memorise things. Leave that to the journalists.
6. Have a nick-name
Before you pick your nomination forms, always have a nick-name by which you will be identified. Sit down with your team of planners and come up with a name that is easy to remember. It should be a name that sends cold shivers down the spines of your opponents. If your opponent is named Mugatti Gwa Butter, then you could consider calling yourself a toaster. If there are winds of mafias trying to blow you off your seat, remember to name yourself Mahogany.
7. Don’t forget the catch phrases
Remember, if you are in the Opposition, your speech must contain loads and loads of statements that blame the incumbent for everything. If you cannot impregnate your wife, blame the ruling government. Similarly, if you are in the ruling government, blame the Opposition for being enemies of progress. If you find no drugs in hospitals, blame the people behind the walk-to-work protests. However, there are some phrases you ought to write down for your daily use; “all protocol observed” “sorry I am late, I just landed from an important meeting abroad”, “I want to thank God almighty” “Corruption, health, education” “We have set up a committee” “We are doing everything possible”. Those phrases will prove to the electorate that you are well-versed with the system. Of course, do not forget to “solemnly swear”.
8. Never keep time
The moment you begin arriving early for events, people may assume that you have nothing to do. The only way to keep your bubble of uselessness from bursting is to always seem busy, in a rush and always late to whatever ceremony you are invited to. Even when asked to address mourners for a few minutes, take a full hour, otherwise if you finish your speech in time, people may assume that you have no words and mistake this for you being unintelligent (which of course you are, but no one should find out).
9. Branding is key
It could be your big eyes, it could be your ugliness, and it could be anything but you ought to have a unique selling proposition in this game of Ugandan politics. For starters, you could begin by buying a good number of hats or caps. Passionately wear the hat everywhere you go, never shall you be seen without your hat. If you do not have enough hats, then go to Kiyembe and buy Kitenge material to sew a number.
Whatever you give out as a Ugandan politician, must bear your mark. If it means launching water taps and bore holes miles away, burn that fuel and be there to launch the taps with your name inscribed on the water (not on the pipe).
10. Have a full bag of stunts
You can choose to disobey the first rules, but do not disobey this one. This is the rule that gives birth to all the rest. To be great at this step, you could consider a degree at Makerere’s department of MDD. Never join Ugandan politics unless you have filled your bag of stunts to the brim. You can run out of money, but you should never run out of stunts. These could include but not limited to trying to commit suicide, going on a food strike, faking kidnap, crying for the cameras, kneeling down to plead for sole candidature and promising “to announce when you will announce the announcement of the announcement that you will announce”. Ugandan politics is a game of stunts, and those without stunts are left to suffer at the bottom of the pecking order. Stunts are what will keep the newspapers writing about you. You could be seen playing solitaire, next time you should be seen digging graves.
In case of emergency, there are a number of things you could use to enhance your mission of becoming a Ugandan politician. First of all, start with brown envelopes. It is cheaper to give envelopes than to build schools.
Secondly, give districts; again, this is in line with decentralisation and bringing services closer. Pretend to be good. Pretend to care. Jump on every opportunity to showcase your good heart, whether it is contributing money for a heart patient or fundraising. Remember to get embroiled in some scandal of sorts; we want to know you are human. If there is no one accusing you, set up something and get some youths to attack you then blame your opponent.
Surely I promise you, if you desire to be a Ugandan politician and you follow these 10 commandments to the dot, I will make you fishers of votes. I will take you to the Promised Land, where accepting defeat is unheard of. In that land of milk and honey, the only way your opponent can ever win is by rigging your votes, even if that happens thrice in a row.