It is often thought that good basketball players also know how belt out rap music hits.
National Basketball Association (NBA) players such as Iman Shumpet who played for New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers released a massive hit in 2012 entitled Supaphly , while Brian Shaw who played for Los Angeles Lakers and The Miami Heat in 1994 also belted out a nice song called Everything can happen.
Shaquille O’Neal who played for The Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics also proved to that he can do well with rap music when in 1993 he released the hit What’s up Doc, which got massive airplay worldwide.
Then there is Cedric Ceballos and Dana Baros who played for Los Angeles Lakers, The Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, who released Ya don’t Stop and Check it in 1992 and 1995, respectively.
The narrative above is one of basketball superstars being able to flourish in the competitive music industry in the US. While basketball and singing may be bedfellows in the US, can singing and politics be bedfellows in Africa’s politics?
Also, can our musicians who are joining politics pull off a feat almost similar to what the NBA basketball players pulled off in the US music industry?
Well, several Ugandan artistes including Daniel Kazibwe, better known by his stage name Ragga Dee, the self-proclaimed Jaaja waba yimbi loosely translated ‘the grandfather of all Ugandan musicians’, has already shaved off his dreadlocks, an indication that he is serious about contesting for the Kampala Lord Mayor position on the NRM ticket in the forthcoming elections in 2016.
Ragga Dee is closely followed by Rachael Magoola of the Obangaina fame under Uganda’s most successful music ensemble, the Afrigo Band. Magoola has decided to give politics a try by contesting for Woman Member of Parliament of Iganga district. Another artiste, Eddy Yawe, a brother to Bobi Wine of the Firebase Crew has decided to put a halt to his music writing and production skills and concentrate on seeking to represent for the people of Kyadondo East, that is if he can oust the incumbent, veteran journalist Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda. Judith Babirye, known of her soul torching music renditions, recently picked forms from the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Secretariat, to contest for the Buikwe Woman Member of Parliament currently held by Dorothy Mpiima. According to Babirye, she was inspired to join politics by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director Jennifer Semakula Musisi.
Then there is veteran actor and song-writer Kato Lubwama,whose 30 year stint in the performing arts might be put on hold in favour of pursuing a rigorous political campaign that might land him in Parliament as the representative of the people of Rubaga South constituency, currently held by John Ken Lukyamuzi aka The Man.
Meanwhile, there are successful politicians who have had a stint in the performing arts and music industry and these include Stephen Kaliba, the former MP for Fort Portal Municipality; Mike Sebalu, who used to perform with Del Group and is now an MP in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA); Maria Matembe, a former MP and Minister for Ethics and Integrity, who used to act in Luzira Mother’s Union and Minister Suleiman Kyabakoze Madada, the MP for Bbaale county in Kayunga district, who is also the State Minister in charge of People with Disabilities.
Of course, it would be a huge oversight to end this article without mention of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the topmost politician in Uganda who has so far managed to release two hit singles, Mpenkoni and Y’engoma, in 2010 and 2015, respectively.
On the international scene, in 2012 US President Barack Obama sang the lyrics of Sweet Home Chicago, an original composition of the Blue Brothers; while veteran Zimbabwe president Robert Gabriel Mugabe, belted out What shall we do with Rhodesians in November 2011 in an attempt to identify with the youth in his country, while at the same time pouring ice on his ‘permanent nemesis’, the Whites.
And, were it not for the Haitian Constitution to bar people who have not lived in the country for five years, famous international singer Wyclef Jean could have become Haitian President in November 2010!