In Uganda, politics is a massive- earner job, and it only gets rosier if the gods look down with favor upon a politician and he or she is appointed a minister.
Ministers in Uganda earn tenfold than say doctors never mind that many ministers are not appointed such because they are the most proficient around, but rather on the president’s whims.
Once one is chosen to be a minister, it entitles him or her to very handsome emoluments and government facilities as well as free air tickets, among many such trappings.
Not to mention the unwritten right for a minister to dip his or her fingers in the national till as well as asking for kickbacks from Ugandans and investors seeking quick services from his or her lofty office.
No wonder, vying for a political office in Uganda is a matter of life and death. Politicians borrow hundreds of millions of cash, pledging all their possessions to loan sharks during elections all in the name of being elected to parliament.
To put the matter into perspective, one needs to look back at history to see people who have eliminated their rivals merely because they looked stronger than the murderers themselves. Other contestants have ended up dying from heart break arising out of losing an election!
Politicians put up a big fight to be voted to parliament because the president usually prefers to appoint politicians who have been elected by Ugandans. This though is not to be oblivious to the fact that the president is vested with the right right to appoint ministers outside parliament.
It is against this background that tabloids are now exploiting the on-going scramble for ministerial slots by politicians to sell large volumes of their products.
One such tabloid, Kamunye, the vernacular sister paper to Red Pepper, has in pursuit of massive sales, put out a really yummy story today. The front page article claims how politicians are queuing to men and women of juju (voodoo). The paper reports that the politicians are jamming shrines in order to procure magic for bewitching the president into appointing each a minister in his new cabinet!
See, the president (Yoweri Museveni) bid farewell to the current cabinet this Wednesday. The development has since heightened the scramble for ministerial posts in the next cabinet. Museveni swears in on May 12 and he is expected to name a new cabinet shortly after.
The Red Pepper itself has led with another equally luscious story, claiming how the current ministers shed tears as the president bid farewell to them.
True, politicians in Uganda visit men of witchcraft in pursuit of political offices, just like it happens in DRC and Nigeria, particularly, but it is not true that all of them do.
Much as ministers could have worn gloomy faces while Museveni was sharing the last meal with them, it can’t be true that all of them were in tears.
Granted, former Vice President Prof Gilbert Bukenya was pictured inside a shrine in Masaka, but such isolated case cannot be used to make the generalized conclusion that all politicians do what Mahogany did.
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Practitioners of juju in Uganda have become one of the most sophisticated people in Uganda. In a bid to hoodwink gullible Ugandans into believing the power of their magic, these people have resorted to propaganda such as this one of politicians visiting them in order to be able to land juicy political offices.
If at all, it is true that politicians are seeking magic to land ministerial jobs currently, tabloids reporting so wouldn’t have forgotten to include photographs of them at it in order to add more credibility to their story.
And if true, ministers shed tears, the tabloids claiming it happened wouldn’t have missed on an opportunity to take photographs of them doing so since the picture tells a far better story than words.