Uganda's Museveni sings for votes, releases new campaign tune ahead of elections

The song follows on his past efforts at rap, and is a tune about long life, music and livestock.

UGANDAN President Yoweri Museveni has recorded a campaign song ahead of elections next year, following up on his past efforts at rap with a tune about long life, music and livestock.

The pop-folk song is titled “Yengoma”, loosely meaning “the drum”, a traditional symbol of power in Uganda, which Museveni has led since 1986.

The Daily Monitor newspaper said the lyrics dealt with “cattle keeping, musical instruments, and longevity,” some of the recurring themes in Museveni’s speeches.

“That is his song, the voice is his,” Museveni’s press secretary Tamale Mirundi confirmed to AFP Thursday. “The president uses many forms to relay messages he considers important, music and proverbs being part of that.”

The 71-year-old president already enjoyed modest musical success in the run-up to the last election in 2011, with the rap song “Mpenkoni”, loosely meaning “give me a walking stick”.

While some Ugandans have already downloaded his latest tune as mobile phone ring tones, others were critical.

The Monitor was scathing of the song, describing it as “more of a rendition of a nursery rhyme than an original composition.”

But it also said that “the fact that Yengoma is sung by a sitting president, during an electoral season, will turn it into an overnight hit.”

The presidential election is expected in February or March 2016.

Museveni has already been given the green light to represent the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) by the party’s top body, but ex-prime minister and party veteran Amama Mbabazi, 66, wants to challenge him.

Kizza Besigye, a leader of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change party and former personal doctor to Museveni who has made three unsuccessful bids for president, is also planning to run again.

Both Mbabazi and Besigye were arrested briefly earlier this month for planning campaign rallies without official permission.

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