The era of Humor-laden politicking
On top of his humor-laden, anecdotal and parable-laden style of giving speeches (an attribute in him, I cherish), President Museveni has of late had a paradigm shift in his political rhetoric! His political, rhetorical stunts have been more action-packed than having a verbal inclination. He is known (at least in Uganda) for a “famous music hit”, dubbed “Another rap?!”, which rocked the media air waves of Uganda during one of the past political campaigns. As if that’s not enough, he allegedly likened his might to that of a leopard, when his political opponents dared to challenge his political campaign methodology, in the recently concluded elections.
Museveni’s humor stunts have an intrinsic potential to alleviate someone who is sunk in the depths of gloom and despondency especially if one is not politically biased (just like me!). I can comfortably assert that, “It is his idiosyncrasy in speech that has significantly contributed to his 30 year, arguably long stay in power.” because majority of the voters, who happen to be in a rural livelihood, subscribe to the Museveni rhetoric (especially when he uses quintessential anecdotes, unique to address the people in the region where he is looking for votes from).
Museveni’s idiosyncratic style of presidential humor has not only arguably garnered him intra-popularity but also inspired home-based comedians to exercise their talents by mimicking him. The late Paddy Bitama, from a comedy group known as Amarula in Uganda, was among the first, if not the first comedian to humorously embody the character of the president on stage. Bitama’s peculiar style of mimicking was so captivating that one could indeed believe he was the president. A contemporary comedian, Seguja Herbert, also a high school teacher of history in Uganda, is not only profoundly creative in his presidential mimicking skits but also earning a great deal of respect from the president himself. Seguja attracted a state sponsorship to study comedy in the United States of America, thanks to the president of Uganda who couldn’t imagine how ridiculous he looked, when he talks, having seen Seguja perform a skit for him.
Did Museveni emulate Obama? I Wonder! #M7OUT
It looks like humor-laden politicking is not restricted to Museveni alone. Recently, at his last state dinner, President Obama, of the USA, literally dropped the mic, as a way of symbolizing his “swaggerific” exit stunt from the presidency. Such an act aroused mixed reactions among the global citizenry, with the co-existence of those who called him weak in character and others who applauded his simple but sure touch on the world’s toughest job.
With Museveni coming to the end of his presidency, given his age, his humor is taking an Obama-like twist of exiting the presidency. It looks like he is looking for Obama-like stunts to tell Ugandans, “Museveni out”. As part of his practice in the pursuit of such political stunts, Museveni decided to get out of his Presidential car, take a seat and put it along the roadside where he then made a telephone call. He was heading to Isingiro district (a district in western Uganda) to address a given gathering.
Whether the call was genuine or not is immaterial. What is striking is the speck of novelty in his humor as president. This stunt was not only highly unexpected but also caused a media informational landslide characterized by the emergence of twitter handles such as #M7challenge and a rapid creation of photo memes to rigorously stir the humor. Telecommunications companies did not hesitate to harness the opportunity presented by the humor. They made adverts, using photo memes on social media, for their pre-paid packages.
The political pundits in Uganda may also raise another perspective in regards to president Museveni’s road side stunt. Since it came on the same day when his arch-rival, Mr. Besigye was granted bail (an incident that had clouded the news in Uganda), the critical pundits might hold that Museveni intended to draw attention back to him, from Besigye. Whatever the propagandists and political pundits say, Ugandans are surely waiting for a twitter hash tag #M7OUT.