A campaign is a machine, chewing miles and spitting out speeches. You wake at 6.30, then wait. You can wait for two, three, four hours for everybody and everything to be ready, but when the cars start rolling they don’t stop until night. Mao has Acholi blood and an Acholi wife, and this is tangibly his home turf.
There are warbling ululations and spontaneous applause as he speaks, and for rural communities a presidential campaign must represent quite a spectacle. His jokes are greeted with hoots of laughter, and the little flyers with his face on are clutched tightly. Everywhere he goes there are two things present. One is the poster team- a must-have in Ugandan politics. If your face isn’t obscuring half of the vital signs along every single street in every single town your poster team are slacking.
The other is the police escort, a ubiquitous presence of men who wear dark glasses and set their jaws as they stare blankly into the crowd, but whom you can quite easily make giggle by sticking a lens in their faces. We are followed by Counter-Terrorism police, in dark uniforms. They look scary, but they’re fairly pleasant and most of their work seems to be stopping children from setting off the car alarms.
The day starts at 7am. Engines start running, trucks are fuelled, breakfast is wolfed. Mao tends to appear a little afterwards, and texts and emails throughout breakfast.
Then we’re on the road for the day. I’ve got some good shots coming up of that, but that’s a treat for tomorrow…