Musician Ronald Mayinja has recently been in the news for his alleged crisscrossing in politics, which has left many wondering where exactly he falls; NRM or People Power. The aspirant for the Gomba county parliamentary seat talked to Ernest Jjingo recently, during a candid chat.
Congratulations on your graduation last month. Why did you decide to go back to school?
I was just looking for new information and knowledge so that I can be well equipped. I have actually spent six years studying at university because I first did a one-year certificate in Business Administration and a two-year diploma in Human Resource Development at Kampala International University.
I then went to Makerere University where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. I have developed great interest in studies and I have already applied for a Diploma in Law at Law Development Centre and I am starting this August.
You have caused lots of speculation lately that you have crossed from People Power to NRM. What is the truth?
All those rumours started from social media, claiming that I had gotten a car from the president, but all that has come to demoralize and divert me from my political ambitions.
Whoever started the rumours has managed to make people believe that it is the truth. But I am still in People Power and I won’t allow anyone to divert me from the struggle, because even though they have won the battle, they have not yet won the [entire] war.
Who are these people who want to divert you from the struggle?
I truly cannot tell, because the problem with social media is that you cannot know the genesis but the rumours are there and that is malice.
When did you last talk to Bobi Wine? Are you two even still friends?
Yes we are still very good friends and actually even now we are from talking. He just called me earlier. [He shows The Observer Bobi Wine’s number among his received calls, which had just happened 40 minutes before the interview].
Musicians who support People Power recently went and met up with Bobi Wine. As the People Power coordinator of entertainers, why were you not among them?
Those musicians had gone to present a song they had sang about People Power and since I am not part of the song, I was not there. I actually did not know about that meeting, I got to know about it through the media.
But do you still hold that position?
Yes, I still have it and I am serving.
This organisation you formed recently…what exactly does it do?
It is an NGO called Peace For All, All For Peace With Equal Opportunities. It is not a political pressure group as many people interpret it to be – that it came to fight People Power. The reason I formed it is to fight for political equality among all Ugandans. We do not need to be separated by our political differences.
Another political aim of my NGO is to seduce and entice the NRM supporters to join the opposition, because we need to increase our numbers if we are to win big in the forthcoming elections.
I am not disagreeing with other people’s approaches but I think the numbers we have in opposition are not enough for us to win because we have many candidates vying for the same positions; therefore, we need to decrease on the NRM numbers and add on to ours and we can only do that by seducing them to join us.
Did you first inform your opposition friends about your political approach?
Well, you cannot launch a song which you have not released yet; so, there was no way I could call them before I launched it; and it was not a political party, but an NGO. The only time I have thought about calling them is after all this misconception.
Running an NGO requires funders…
Right now I have not put in so much money. The only major expenses I have encountered so far are the T-shirts and caps, which I can manage all by myself. I am looking for the funder, but I want to first sell the idea.
What do you think People Power as a political wing is not doing right?
It is doing good, being a new political pressure group, but we must make sure that everything we do increases on the number of supporters because we are running out of time. We need to look for more strategies to increase on our support because we need every vote.
I heard that you were chased away from Democratic Party. Why?
I have never been a member of DP, but I associate with individuals from DP and I personally like the party; that is why I even attend some of their meetings. I do not have a party membership card; so, how can I be chased from a party where I am not even a member?
Which political party would you want to join?
For now I want the ideologies of a person and not a political party, because the problems of Ugandans are now far beyond political parties. There have been so many political parties but I have not seen any which is there for the cause of Ugandans.
Who do you think the opposition should front to compete against President Museveni?
I think we should all support Bobi Wine if we really need change, because he has got the largest number of supporters especially the youths and he has brought in new ideas.
You have sung politically-motivated songs like Tuli Ku Bunkenke and Bizzeemu… do you still hold those views?
Yes. I still hold the view very much, but the problem is that such songs are not first liked by the people until I push them further that they then begin to get the message.
What do you really think of President Museveni?
President Museveni should do Ugandans a favour and leave power for the good of Uganda, because even he himself he has never had anyone who is above 75 years of age rule over him, or had anyone rule him for 34 years.
Your Golden band colleague-turned-presidential-advisor, Catherine Kusasira has been trending for flaunting NRM cash lately. When are you showing us your bounty?
How can I flaunt what I don’t have? I think she is just excited, because I don’t see the need of showing off money, but I advise her to change that because it is not helpful to her, her boss or her fans.
You mean you have not met the president or received cars or cash like Kusasira?
No. No. No. And as I said, all those are rumours and political tactics meant to divert not only me, but all Ugandans from the political struggle we are in.
The times I have met him it has been in public. The first time was in Kyanamukaaka at the vice president’s function; the second time it was in Kiboga and the third time was at Serena hotel at Catherine Kusasira’s concert. I dare anyone to bring evidence of me meeting him in private.
What if he invited you to meet him…?
If he calls me to meet him, I can accept but it should be in the open, and not in private and with an agenda and a clear motive. Ugandans should have political maturity because at the end of the day if we want to remove Museveni from power, we should confront him, and not just run away from him.
How do these developments affect your political aspirations in Gomba?
Basically, every negativity is a setback and that is the motive of whoever is doing it. However, I believe that if I explain to my people what I really mean by my political approach, they will understand.
Are you still standing as a People Power candidate?
I am still moving along the People Power ideology, because I love it and it is where I want to preach my political gospel from.
Your friend Flavia Namulindwa also from People Power wants to contest for the same position, how are you playing it out with her?
It is a contest and I am [not] looking at Namulindwa only because there are also other people contesting for the same seat, but if we are all after the wellbeing of our area, people will take the one with the best ideas and if she wins, I will congratulate her.
What should the people of Gomba expect from you?
They should expect a lot because I believe that a good leader should first work for himself before going on to lead other people. I came to the city from Gomba and I have worked for myself and now it is time for me to go back and work for them. All I need is for them to give me their permission to work for them.
Has politics affected your music career in any way?
Yes. It has divided my fans along political lines. You find someone saying that they no longer like my music ever since I became a politician and I am not in support of their political party. Some don’t like my political songs while others say that if I don’t sing about politics, then I was probably bought off by the government. So, it has become quite difficult for me to satisfy my fans musically.
It is widely believed that ‘burnt-out’ artistes are the ones turning to politics for survival…
Yes we have come into politics, but we have not come for financial gains but to make our country a better place and also to diffuse the lies and negative perceptions people used to have against musicians that we are uneducated, drug addicts, we have HIV/Aids and not responsible at all. Just because we no longer have hit songs does not mean that we cannot survive.
So, what do you have in store for your fans musically?
Though the subscription to my music is low these days, I have a new song called Omuddugavu and it preaches unity. And I have so many projects coming up.