Naibi Turihohabwe

a Ugandan filmmaker and freelance documentary photographer


The electoral poster. An equaliser in the often skewed electoral campaign process. One will see posters of aspiring candidates in residences and public spaces reminding possible voters who they can choose at the polls.

This a photo essay about how the population relates with the electoral posters and consists of nominated candidates’ decorated electoral posters, some with keepers – treated with reverence with some symbolism attached at times, posters found glued to walls – next to rivals and any other places where passersby can easily notice them like roundabouts, electricity poles, among others.

All photos are taken using a smartphone (Redmi Note 7) within Kampala and the surrounding suburbs in the month of November 2020.

Ssebuliba Ronald - wiping Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert’s aka Bobi Wine poster along Namirembe Road in Kampala city, Uganda. “I support Bobi Wine because I’m from the ghetto and he also comes from the ghetto which means he understands what we go through and can well represent us when he becomes president[sic]. I am also voting only NUP (National Unity Platform) candidates at all levels in my area” says Ronald. Ronald also sells other Bobi Wine merchandise including Bobi Wine’s music DVDs where he earns some money from supporters some of which he uses to pay for space to keep the poster every night. “If I leave this poster on the street some people who don’t support Bobi will destroy the poster so to be safe I pay 2000ush every night for storage,” he says.
Wanyama Hassan - kneeling before Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s decorated posters along busy Namirembe road in Kampala city. Wanyama is a member of NRM National Mobile Task Force, a group of youths supporting Museveni’s candidacy in the presidential race for the 2021 - 2026 term. “I support Museveni from my heart and we do these decorations here with our own money not that we are given money from the president as many people think. Some Museveni supporters take selfies from here and also donate some money here as they pass by and it’s that money we use to buy more decorations, drinks and also give away some to passersby in need[sic],” says Wanyama. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has been the president of Uganda since 1986 after leading a successful liberation struggle for 5 years under National Resistance Movement and National Resistance Army (NRM/NRA).
T-Shirts printed with Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert’s image being sold besides a big decorated electoral poster of him, along a busy street in Kampala city. Standing left is Makanika wa Bobi(nickname which loosely translates to mechanic for Bobi), who says the poster is decorated so that it can stand out in public and people can view it very well. He prefers not to disclose his name because he fear some officers might track him and torture him because of supporting Bobi Wine. Some people have been arrested and tortured by unknown people recently because they support the “People Power” movement, a moniker for the National Unity Platform headed by Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert alias Bobi Wine who is a big contender in the Ugandan presidential elections slated for January 2021. “We sell other things by the poster like Bobi Wine’s framed photos, and T-shirts. The T-shirts with collars go for 20000UGX while round neck ones go for 15000UGX. There are many people who support us and donate some money sometimes which we use to other items for resell and also pay for space to store the poster at night[sic].” Says Makanika wa Bobi.
Items well placed on a table decorated with Ssemujju Ibrahim electoral posters along Jinja road in Bweyogerere a township in Kira Municipality, Wakiso district. The items on the table include a telephone, which the caretaker says is their main contact to the member of parliament in case they need help, food for the MP to eat, and a big speaker which plays music all day to capture the attention of passersby. The caretaker says after elections they hope to retain the speaker which was provided by Ssemujju and they can use it for their community functions. Ssemujju is the current Member of Parliament representing Kira Municipality in the 10th parliament of Uganda campaigning for the same post under the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) political party platform.
DVDs and other items labelled with Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Roberts photos on sale in Kampala. Some youths are engaged in selling election related items especially for the popular candidates to earn a living since it’s the election season in Uganda.
A busy street in Kampala where a lot of the electoral posters are placed and other electoral merchandise are sold. Street vendors find such locations ideal for the kind of business because they are confident that whatever they are dealing in will catch the attention of passersby.
A street vendor displays a lanyard depicting how Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert will appear on the ballot paper and the right way to vote so as not to be disqualified by the electoral commissioners. The lanyards are sold between 1000ush to 5000ush depending on its size and quality.
A man passing by a wall decorated with different candidate’s posters running for different political positions for the 2021-2026 election term in Uganda.
Different candidates’ posters were placed in different locations in Katwe area Makindye division in Kampala city. The top 3 presidential candidates can be seen with Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s poster on the street light pole, Patrick Oboi Amuriat’s poster on top of a house, and Kyagulanyi Sssentamu Robert’s poster on a stand by the roadside.
A defaced poster of presidential candidate Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert seen along Jinja road in Lugogo area in Kampala city. Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine is Ugandan singer previously known as the ghetto president based in Kamwokya, Kampala city. In April 2017, he announced his candidacy for parliament in a by-election for Kyadondo East county which he won by a wide margin beating Sitenda Sebalu of NRM and Apollo Katinti of FDC. On 24th July 2019, he formally announced his bid to run for president in the 2021 general election. He is the flagbearer for the National Unity Platform (NUP) political party. On November 18, 2020, he was arrested for flouting COVID-19 guidelines on crowd size which led to protests around the country and this has resulted in at least 37 people dead and 350 arrested. According to the Uganda Ministry of Health, gatherings are restricted to 200 people.
A photo of Nelson Mandela printed beside Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert’s photo on one of the electoral posters seen in Kampala city. To many of Kyagulanyi’s supporters, he is a freedom fighter and they see him as a Nelson Mandela. Kyagulanyi sometimes quotes Nelson Mandela in his public addresses. African legendary musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka was recently quoted referring to him as Nelson Mandela during the “Save Bobi Wine” campaign when he was arrested. “I have heard that my Nelson Mandela in Uganda has been brutally arrested, tortured and jailed illegally and due to face an illegal court martial. Dear Ugandans, it’s your right to help this boy,” she said.
Children passing by posters on iron sheets fencing of a construction site in Kirinya area in Kira municipality, Wakiso district. The people in charge of distributing electoral posters for certain candidates post them on people’s fences by the roadside as long as there’s no warning of a fine to whoever glues a poster on one’s fence.
A man walks past Erias Lukwago and Ssegirinya Mohammed’s posters glued on a wall fence in Kisaasi a township in Kawempe Division, Kampala city. Erias Lukwago has won the position of Lord mayor for Kampala twice, first in the 2011 elections and again in 2016 elections. He is again running for the same position which he hopes to win. His current contenders include two popular musicians Joseph Mayanja alias Jose Chameleone and Daniel Kazibwe alias Ragga Dee who is standing against him for the second time having lost in 2016. Ssegirinya Muhammed who has been the Lord councilor for Kawempe division is running for the Member of Parliament seat for Kawempe North constituency for 2021-2026 period.
Different sized electoral posters placed at a roundabout in Kawempe division. Some posters are placed in such locations so that they are seen by road users coming from different directions. Some candidates use bigger posters to attract the public than small ones which might not be noticed.
A defaced poster of presidential candidate General Henry Tumukunde on an electricity pole in the Kololo area, a residential and commercial neighborhood in Kampala city. Lt Gen. Henry Tumukunde is a retired military officer of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF). On 3 May 2020, he declared his intentions to become president of Uganda officially and vowed to stand against President Museveni in the 2021 elections. He attributed his decision to the fact that Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and NRM party was not ready to discuss a peaceful transition of power. Tumukunde has been occasionally arrested by the government since 2005 with the recent arrest being on 12 March 2020 just less than two weeks since announcing his presidential bid on allegations of treason. On 19 November 2020, he suspended his presidential campaign in response to the arrest of fellow opposition candidate Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert alias Bobi Wine. Two days later Tumukunde, Kyagulanyi, agreed to form an alliance to form an alliance together with other opposition candidates Norbert Mao, Patrick Amurait and Mugisha Muntu.
An electoral poster of Ssemujju Ibrahim with an added glittering decoration around the neck area of the photo found along Northern bypass road in Kireka town.