As music is one of the most influential cultural elements in most Ugandans’ lives, it is no surprise that the Ugandan music industry has grown from strength to strength over the years.
What might be more surprising is that politicians, soldiers and police officers have all flirted with professional music careers.
In 1981 Uganda had its first commercially successful singing army officer, Sergeant Kifulugunyu.
His music motivated many army officers in the bush war that brought current President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to power. By the early 1990s Sergeant Kifulugunyu was one of the most heralded artists in the country.
In the video below, Sergeant Kifulugunyu talks to NTV Uganda about his experience with music both during the war and after the war. He is one of a number of Ugandan artists who are concerned about plagiarism. Local artist Gravity Omutujju re-did Kifulugunyu's song “Kibonge” and renamed it “Omwoto” without his permission, he says.
Other security officers who have joined the contemporary music industry include Afande Karangwa and Afande Mia and Afande OJ from the police force. The latter duo's music is entirely about patriotism and civil work, mainly that of the police.
One of their recent sleekly shot videos is “Kaazi Yetu”, Swahili for “Our Job”. In it the duo speak about the work of the police, citing and thanking different people including President Yoweri Museveni, Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura and others.
Their videos have been shared by several YouTube and Facebook users, and each has commanded over 10,000 views.
Readers of Uganda's Daily Monitor website have mixed feelings, with some excited and others criticising the actions of the officers singing and dancing whilst still in police uniform.
Nyaralego is excited that the officers are putting the guns aside and having a good time:
aaaaaoooo…from AK47 to ndomblo ya solo. (Ndombolo ya solo refers to a popular Congolese music genre and dance style).
Ug_Ug feels the officers are breaking the police code of conduct:
The Police worldwide has code of conduct, some of which e.g. never to drink alcohol publicly when on duty in Police uniform; as equally as it’s a misconduct dancing in uniform in public places without any orderly authorization from above. These boys should have been incarcerated on the spot, but it seems M7´s [President Museveni's nickname] Police are as ignorant of their own code of conduct as Himself from the above!
The videos were produced and released with the approval of the police force, who contributed US$5,000 towards production.
Ajigak is happy for the officers and advises them to commercialize their music more often to augment their miserly police salaries.
Good to be creative to supplement the meager pay earned by the police force other than the greedy politicians. Bravo officer, you need to commercialize your music to make more earning.