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Who’s to blame for salt-and-soap politics?

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th January 2002 03:00 AM

SIR— I had heard about vote buying using salt and soap during parliamentary and local council elections campaigns and always taken it to be a myth.

SIR— I had heard about vote buying using salt and soap during parliamentary and local council elections campaigns and always taken it to be a myth.

SIR— I had heard about vote buying using salt and soap during parliamentary and local council elections campaigns and always taken it to be a myth. But the ongoing LC elections have revealed to me that the story has been true, after all. I have a close business associate with whom I have worked for the last nine years and have all this time shared with him business and personal secrets. His younger brother ran for chairmanship in the recent LC III elections somewhere in south Bugisu. On election eve, every able- bodied relative of my friend’s brother had to swing into action because the race had become so tight. This is where my long-time friend participated “live” in the door-to-door distribution of salt sachets, this time accompanying it with a one-hundred-shilling coin. The total value of the two items dished out to every household was sh300. My friend confided in me that such a political adventure was the first of its kind by any member of their family and so he was for the first time coming face-to-face with the finer details of what is involved. All the sachets and coins exchanged from Baroda Bank Mbale were given out on the last night so that by morning the impact is still felt even as the voter heads for the polling station. My friend’s brother won the election the following day and is now chairman. But he hid at his brother’s house for two days because on the night of victory the folks that had voted him into office camped at his home waiting for him to come with more goodies, this time for showing appreciation. The victor was so broke that he only went home when my friend gave him sh100,000. This trend of events is now a culture in Ugandan politics and I feel at a loss whom to blame. Is it the rulers or the ruled? Ignatius Kabagambe Mbale

Who’s to blame for salt-and-soap politics?

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