Uganda: Kusasira - I Regret Museveni's Job

On December 1, 2019, enraged Ugandans forced musician Catherine Kusasira off the stage in Sandton, South Africa.

Weeks later, on Boxing Day (December 26) revelers hurled objects at her as she climbed onto the stage to sing her song Enkola ya Taxi at Sand beach Nabugabo, Masaka. She was shielded from harm's way by her presidential police guards.

Until she was casually appointed as a presidential advisor on Kampala Affairs late last October, Kusasira had never been bullied this much by music fans. And now she has ended 2019 as one of the music industry's most hated political musicians. Unnerved, she has publicly started regretting taking Museveni's job.

"The challenges are too many," Kusasira told The Observer in a December 31 phone interview.

"I didn't know that I was coming into life-threatening fights; it is not like in the music industry where it is merely an exchange of words, no. I am getting all sorts of threats from various corners within the system," she added.

As the threats intensified, Kusasira spent a few weeks consulting friends plus people she believes have good connections to State House on how to go about her new presidential advisory job.

Days after her appointment, Kusasira was involved in supremacy fights with NRM leaders in Kampala notably Godfrey Nyakana, the NRM vice chairman in charge of Kampala, and Salim Uhuru, the party's branch chairman for Kampala Central.

While the NRM party leadership in Kampala thought Kusasira is supposed to work under their guidance, the musician scoffed at them. She described them as spent forces without anything new to energize the ruling party's quest to capture Kampala in the forthcoming elections.

Is Nyakana and Uhuru behind the threats against her? Kusasira declined to name any names, afraid she may stir more trouble.

"Some people think that I receive too much from [Museveni], it bothers them so much that some have gone as far as asking why I got a car yet they who fought in the bush war have received nothing," Kusasira said.

Kusasira is also worried that her chauffeur-driven black Land Cruiser V8-VX may not be hers. According to a source, Kusasira picked the car from State House without its logbook, which implies the state can recall it anytime. She, however, told The Observer that she bought the car herself.

"Museveni didn't give me that car, I bought it using my own money and I have all the documents to prove that I ordered it from Japan. This should be an opportunity for me to tell those NRM historicals who are bothered about this car that Museveni gives me other things but has never given me a car," she said.

"What they need to know is that Kusasira was born lucky; I am a lucky person and my luck follows me wherever I go. It is out of that luck that I got close to [Museveni] and he treats me like his own child," she added.

MUSIC SHOWS

Kusasira also blames NRM intrigue for the hostility she confronts at music concerts.

"All that is the handiwork of people within the system that want to weaken me and prove their point to Museveni that I can't do the job he assigned me," Kusasira said.

She claims the attacks against her have instead re-energised her. She said she will not call off her performances. Some musicians allied to the ruling party have blamed the attacks at concerts on supporters of the People Power political pressure group led by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi - musically known as Bobi Wine.

In fact, some are planning to storm the legislator's home at Magere in Wakiso district to show their anger over the continued attacks. But Kusasira argues that if it is true the attacks are led by People Power supporters, it only works to strengthen the NRM.

"When people in the villages see all those objects being thrown at me, it scares them away from opposition politicians. It shows what is likely to happen when Museveni goes; it shows the chaos that the country will be plunged in," Kusasira said.

sadabkk@observer.ug

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