Maurice Kirya – ‘Munonde’

As Ugandans approach the day of the upcoming Presidential Election (14th January 2021), their country is going through a painful pre-election phase. The arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi (aka Bobi Wine) led to protests, which the Ugandan Security Personal responded with heavy violence. So far, the Police has confirmed that 50 persons have lost their lives (The East African). Human Rights Watch has accused the Ugandan to have “used Covid-19 regulations as a pretext to violate rights and clamp down on the opposition and the media” (HRW).

It is in this heated atmosphere the Ugandan artist Maurice Kirya re-released the track ‘Munonde‘ from his 2019 album ‘Beyond Myself‘. In this soulful tune, Kirya sensitizes the Ugandan citizens to vote wisely and not to get distracted by handouts. In the lyrics, he ironically takes on the role of a corrupt politician, who is busy making promises and gives free handouts prior to elections but then forget about his voters, once he is in office:

“Nsaba munonde, abange ab’ekisa
Nsaba munonde, nze nina ebipya
Nsaba munonde, male mbalimbe, nzirye
Nsaba munonde, akabbasa kakano
Nsaba munonde, teka enkikumu
Nsaba munonde, male mbalimbe, nteme

I beg your votes, my own kind ones
I beg your votes, I’ve got new things
I beg your votes, afterwards I’ll lie and eat it
I beg your votes, here is an envelope
I beg your votes, put the thumbprint
I beg your votes, afterwards I’ll lie and run away

In a recent Instagram post Kirya, harshly condemned the excessive use of violence: “It’s a dark time in my country, Uganda, police brutality seems to have become a normal occurrence, while more people continue to die.” He also vocalizes his frustration about the unwillingness of the police, to implement much needed reforms: “... we’ve continuously begged the Ugandan police to reform and handle arrest protocols in a humanely way, Our desperate requests have fallen on deaf militant ears, as more lives are lost.”

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