When I posted last week, I wished I had photos at the culmination of Mr. Besgiye’s rally. A local friend, Noah, attended the rally and took several photos of the action (thank you Noah).
These photos, combined with what I felt when this same rally took over both lanes of Main Street, make it hard to believe Besigye won’t get elected as president. Of course, that is the intention. Unlike the polite and restricted political photo ops and news conferences in Canada, even my brief and at-a-distance encounter with this very public rally screamed and pulsed with the unfettered joy of lovers who had not touched in months.
I can only imagine what it was like to be at the rally’s climax.
Uganda votes for their president on February 18th: It is election crunch time. Posters advertising candidates are everywhere, and the men (sadly only men) themselves are making their rounds. Dr. Kizza Besigye, opposition leader and strongest candidate next to incumbent Yoweri Museveni, visited Jinja and area today.
The rally blocked both lanes of Jinja’s two-lane and two-direction main street for half an hour or more, its seething mass moving toward the center of town. It began elsewhere in the city in the morning and then toured through the area surrounding Jinja.
Music blared from boulder-sized speakers mounted on trucks. Men and women clung to the sides, tops, and rears of vehicles using anything they could hold on to, dancing and shrieking with envious joy. Boda boda (motorcycle taxi) riders and passengers were so dust-coated their skin had turned the orange-red of Ugandan soil.
I felt nervous watching, but smiled in spite of myself. Such enthusiasm and excitement were infectious, though there was no need to be close (I really have no part to play in the election), so I observed from a safe distance.
I did not see Dr. Besigye in the procession.