Singer Joseph Mayanja aka Dr. Jose Chameleone set tongues wagging across the country four days ago when he officially joined Democratic Party (DP) and announced he would contest for the Kampala mayoral seat in 2021.
Chameleone, whose reputation has been marred by drama in the recent past, but has topped Uganda’s music charts for over two decades, on Wednesday asked Ugandans to forget about his past. “I am a grown-up who wants to contribute to liberating the nation. Our time is now; what affects the disadvantaged masses affects me too,” the multi-award winning artist said.
He explained why he associated with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) in the last general elections, where he was part of the musicians who sang Tubonga Naawe song for the party’s candidate, President Yoweri Museveni, praising his great achievements.
“I went there (NRM) because of my popularity and strength. I was just hired for performances, but I swear and you can trace my roots right from my grandparents. They were DP members. You should not discriminate against me. I am different from my brand name,” he said.
He told the gathering that he had joined DP with a youth following, including two of his brothers who were also musicians Palaso and Weasel. DP president Norbert Mao, who has already announced his 2021 presidential bid, appointed him the party’s national mobilizer, saying their target is to sweep 100% win at all levels in the next elections.
The DP acting secretary general, Gerald Siranda, told us that the entry of Chameleone into DP was timely. “We have traced back Chameleone right from his parents; they were DP members. What we are trying to do is to find out where he got lost.
Chameleone comes into DP first with his mobilization skills,” he said. Siranda said the musician turned-politician was a brand in East Africa, which is critical in motivating voters. “Seventy percent of our population are young people and 45% of these people are in the age bracket of Chameleone,” he said.
Siranda said they would now be in a position to tap into that population to expand their party. “Chameleone will come in with people who used to ignore politics,” he said.
Sulaiman Kidandala, the former deputy lord mayor, said Chameleone would take to the party hitherto apolitical followers. “They have absolutely no interest in politics but since they are following him they will follow him to the DP bloc.
He will also bring the different mindset and a different approach to politics because for them they have been observers for years,” he said