By Allan Brian Ssenyonga
We are living in really interesting times if you ask me and I sometimes pity those trying to document these times given the rate of change. Just look at 2020 a year we started like any other but we now have almost no clue as to how it will end with a pandemic that has still refused to let us do basic things like hug strangers on the street.
In Uganda the year started with little clarity on what the political landscape would look like and we are certainly not even sure of how it will look like by the end of the year. After all, a day in politics is a really long time. Nowadays politics is so prevalent in our lives that it has even become the mainstay of social media; a space the same politicians used to think was a place only for jokes.
Age as a factor in the coming general election is one of the most intriguing things for me. For starts, the main reason why President Yoweri Museveni will be on the ballot once again is that our ‘hardworking’ members of parliament agreed to remove the age limit requirement for the highest office. In short, they were saying that age is just a number. But is it?
The incumbent may have had a brief moment of relief when age was removed from the constitution but he clearly knows that it remains a key talking point and an issue in the public psyche. To be honest he has been smart about it by embracing his advanced age as seen in the way he has been addressing young people not just as young but as grandchildren (Bazzukulu). For it is indeed a fact that many Ugandans are fit to be the grandchildren of someone that is above 75yrs in Uganda.
He has however not let the ‘old man’ brand hog all the space. He is occasionally seen juggling a football and recording himself doing push-ups to prove that he still got it as young people would say. The last time I saw push-ups as a political feature was when Magufuli did a few to remind the Tanzanians that he was fitter than the aging Edward Lowassa. This time the battle lines seem to be shaping up with Museveni in one corner and Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu better known as Bobi Wine in the other corner. A contest reduced to Bobi vs Bosco.
It is not surprising therefore that the biggest news in the past few days has been whether Bobi Wine did not lie about his age regarding his academic and other personal documents. Bobi Wine’s rise has been buoyed by his ability to ride the wave of young and restless Ugandans so it matters when a lawyer tries to prove that he is not really that young anyway. The effort to win over young voters will certainly bring to the surface more entertaining age themed theatrics.
About the author:
Allan is an East African freelance writer.