Public Policy Institute (PPI)

Uganda’s Artists on the Political Front Lines: The 2021 General Elections in Context

August 18, 2021

Unlike previous electoral contests, the January 2021 general elections were not business as usual owing to the Covid-19 pandemic which necessitated the enforcement of several measures by the government to combat its spread. This was a predictable pragmatic step from a government that cares for the wellbeing of its people.

What was not predicted, however, was the record number of artists, especially from the creative industry, contesting elective political offices. Many registered resounding success in the parliamentary and local council elections, in many cases beyond expectation. Some of them were even surprised that they emerged triumphant.

This paper examines a new political climate in Uganda where artists in various disciplines have taken the bold step of vying for elective political offices. We, therefore, analyse the factors at play that engendered a shift in the pattern of voting which worked in favour of these new entrants in the country’s political space and its implications for service delivery and political administration.

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