OPINION: I am no marketer or business consultant but the little I know about why celebrities are used to endorse various products is because of their large following.
Imaginations of using the same product with Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Lebron James, Eddy Kenzo, Davido, etc are magnetic creating a sense of bond between the idolized and ordinary.
Well, under the previous normal circumstances, the election period in Uganda has been a rare opportunity for the citizenry to see the countryside as candidates move border to border in search of votes.
In the 2016 general elections, president Museveni campaigned in at least every constituency as he moved about canvassing for votes. Other candidate’s equally traversed wide areas of the country in search of the same.
However, what comes as an additional detriment or advantage depending on who is speaking is the ‘other’ issues that come along as the people vying to occupy the highest office in the land move about.
For instance, in the events leading to the 2016 race, Abim Hospital shot to limelight after opposition candidate Dr Kizza Besigye’s visit, the deplorable state of the facility widely shown on national and international media irked the Ugandan authorities.
The officer who took Dr Besigye around reportedly faced ‘disciplinary’ proceedings and on February 6th 2016, Catherine Byaruhanga, the BBC correspondent in Uganda was detained by the authorities but later released without any charges about the same Abim hospital.
However, what followed shortly was a multi-million renovation of the facility, the government revealed plans to hire four additional doctors, many understandably attributed these actions to Dr Besigye’s visit.
Fast forward to 2021 race, candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu was caught in the ‘lakes’ of Obongi district caused as a result of months of general flooding in the Madi sub region along the Nile.
The floods at their peak submerged Obongi town, the main mosque, a primary school, shops and residences with nearly 50 families displaced.
Such was the trend across many other parts of the sub region, hundreds of animals, a wide range devastation of farm land and roads cut off, etc.
The ‘small’ West Nile media tried as much to report about the untold suffering caused by the disaster, but largely failed to convince the government that urgent action was needed.
On December 9th, candidate Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine was due to campaign in Obongi, Moyo and Adjumani districts. However the day as was with the Dr Besigye-Abim hospital saga of 2016 was overshadowed by the state of roads.
The ‘big’ media has widely captured footage of Bobi’s vehicle wading through the flooded roads, as women carrying firewood and kids swimming in what is meant to be a road go on with their business in what has become a ‘new normal’ for them.
The ‘suffering’ of Bobi’s convoy in a bid to access Moyo from Obongi district has been captured prominently and now too well like never before, the much followed candidate of the National Unity Platform has made the plight of the people known.
Just like the case is for a celebrity endorsing a product, now that a presidential candidate has finally highlighted the plight of the people of Obongi by using the same ‘service’ that they have used for months, the locals can only hope that it turns out to be the same result as was with Dr Besigye and Abim hospital in 2016.