16 February 2008

Uganda: Citizens Form Obama Support Group

Kampala — Ugandans have formed a group to mobilise support for Kenyan born-senator, Barack Obama for the US presidency.

The Obama Solidarity Group (OSP) launched its campaign at Makerere University on January 18, according to one of the members.

"Our group has been formed to see that our candidate gets support from not only Americans but other parts of the world including Uganda because he is a symbol of Africa in a western democracy," Mr Silver Mulindwa, a third year student at the university, said.

"We have campaigned among the Americans working in Uganda and they have shown support for the candidate."Obama, a senator for Illinois is campaigning against US former First Lady Hillary Clinton on the Democrats ticket to become America's first black President.

While Obama's rate card rose, Ms Clinton suffered an even more personal rejection on Thursday when Mr. David Wilhelm, who managed her husband's 1992 campaign for the White House endorsed her opponent.

The defection came as Obama began to peel away sections of Clinton's supporting coalition among working-class households, women, Catholics and older voters, to win primaries in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC by overwhelming margins.

Clinton's strategist, Mark Penn, tried to downplay the importance of momentum to Obama, who now has a string of eight consecutive wins. "Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification for who can win the general election," he told a conference call with reporters.

Mr Mulindwa said they have distributed 4,000 copies of flyers, 1,000 badges, 800 car stickers and hundreds of posters to the American citizens, diplomats, academicians, scholars and businesses in Kampala.

"This is voluntary work," Mr Mulindwa said when asked about the campaign financiers. "We receive modest donations from the American friends and other well wishers."

He said, at Makerere University alone, there are two groups that have been formed to campaign for Obama.

The dean of students, Mr John Ekudu said yesterday, he was not aware of the OSG but promised to establish the information.

"I don't know about them (OSG) yet but that is interesting," Mr Ekudu said. "But how will the students participate in the elections, will they travel to US?" he asked. But Mr Mulindwa said the solidarity members do not have to travel to US to show their support.

The university spokesman, Mr Gilbert Kadilo, said he is not aware of regulations that bar students from forming partisan groups. "I don't think there is any regulation to bar students from forming partisan groups or serve certain interests, the disclaimer is that as long as they don't interfere with educational activities at the university," Mr Kadilo said.

Obama's father, Barack Obama Snr, won a scholarship to study in Hawaii, where he met Barack's mother, a student from Kansas city in US. The pair separated when their son was only two years old.

Mr Obama Snr continued to Harvard for a Masters, and then returned to Kenya to become a government economist before his death in a car accident in 1982.

Barack Obama's father married three times, and the Senator is understood to have his grandmother, three uncles, three aunts and several distant cousins still living in Kenya, the UK Telegraph reported.

Copyright © 2008 The Monitor. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.