Can Obama "Change" Mantra Aid Ugandan?

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[Global: United Kingdom]

Can a budding Ugandan politician borrow President Barack Obama’s slogans –the Ugandan uses "Change Ugandans Can Trust"—to propel himself to the East African country’s presidency come 2011?

That’s certainly what the aspiring candidate himself believes and judging by a recent fund raiser here in London, he is off to a fast start, having raised more than $30,000 at this one event, a handsome sum by any standards.

Notwithstanding that the T-shirts sold at the fundraiser did not bear his own image –it bore the image of Edward Mutesa II, who was the monarch of Buganda and Uganda’s first president— the candidate, Samuel Lubega, says Ugandans, like American voters, are just as ready for change.

Ugandans, having endured rule by the same man, Yoweri Museveni, since 1986, are ready to elect a candidate who is an outsider, just as Obama was when he launched his campaign two years ago, Lubega says.

The March 21 fundraiser for Lubega, who currently resides in the United Kingdom, was organized by the U.K. branch of the Democratic Party, one of Uganda’s largest opposition parties.

Lubega notes that at 43, he too is youthful, like Obama, who was 45 when he launched his campaign. Many Ugandans of Asian origin also attended the fundraiser as did some Nigerians.

"I am a Ugandan, that is why I have come out to support this youthful gentleman with great ideas for the country," Lord Jasdir, a Ugandan Asia, said. "Although I am not a politician, I and my people shall give him all support he needs."

"You need to understand the problem of the people," veteran Uganda-born British journalist and former BBC correspondent, Dr. Henry Gombya advised Lubega. "It’s not the DP party but the entire nation."

Indeed, Lubega insists his will be a national campaign with broad-based appeal.

He recalled the ethnic divisions he saw and the disparity in economic development he witnessed during his recent visit to Uganda.

"When I reached Gulu, West Nile, it looked like those people were on a different planet," he recalled, referring to the government’s marginalization and discrimination against the northern part of the country. "This is not fair and we have to work together and rescue our country."

"It’s upon us to inform our people that Mr. Museveni does not care about the country but a few of his cronies," he said, referring to President Yoweri Museveni.

"I consider the situation in Uganda absolutely inadmissible, where the leaders spend billions of money to buy weapons to fight endless wars whilst our people can't get the basic treatment in the national referral hospital," he added.

"The road ahead today is starting," Lubega concluded, "I need a lot of sponsorship and support to be a president of change."

Miwambo reports for The Black Star News from Europe

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